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first  Published  1926, 


Prfad  in  total  frftii'n  by  fa  WkiUfriars  Pttto,  Ltd.,  London  Md  TonbMe*. 


Preface 


collection  marks  the  first  attempt  to  bring  together  in  a  single 
JL  volume  a  characteristic  group  of  the  outstanding  examples  of  the 
Short  Story  as  it  has  been  practised  by  writers  of  almost  every  race,  from 
the  earliest  days  of  civilization  down  to  the  present  century.  Its  purpose 
is  not  to  shew,  by  a  series  of  texts  chosen  on  academic  grounds,  how 
the  fo.im  developed,  but  to  bring  together  the  best  examples  of  every 
form  by  which  men  have  endeavoured  to  entertain  and  instruct  their 
fellows. 

No  art  is  more  spontaneous  than  that  of  the  short  story,  and  though 
it  may  be  proved  that  lyric  poetry  came  earlier  to  the  dignity  of  litera- 
ture, iff  is  certain  that  stories  of  some  sort  were  told  as  soon  as  man 
became  articulate.  The  period  covered  in  the  present  collection  embraces 
nearly  five  thousand  years,  but  there  can  be  no  reasonable  doubt  that 
the  Egyptian  tales  that  open  the  volume,  the  first  of  their  kind  known 
to  us,  are  the  finished  products  of  an  art  that  was  practised  thousands 
of  years  before  these  were  written.  And  since  the  beginning  of  civi- 
lization as  we  know  it,  there  has  been  no  break  in  the  tradition  of  tale- 
telling:  the  demand  for  stories  is  as  strong  and  insatiable  in  man  to-day 
as  it  was  before  he  discovered  how  to  make  stone  weapons. 

Of  recent  years  there  has  been  a  good  deal  of  theorizing  about  the 
Short  Story  as  an  art  form.  A  whole  literature  of  theory  has  come  into 
being  in  order  to  explain  the  work  of  Maupassant  and  Poe  and  O. 
Henry,  as  well  as  to  guide  the  would-be  writer.  Several  theorists  have 
maintained  that  the  Short  Story  (as  opposed  to  the  story  that  is  short)  is 
an  invention  of  the  Nineteenth  Century,  that  it  must  be  unified,  that  it 
must  concern  itself  with  but  a  single  anecdote  or  episode  or  situation, 
that  it  must  be  of  a  certain  length;  in  a  word,  that  it  must  conform  to 
certain  a  priori  principles.  These  theories  are  often  interesting  and  in- 
genious, but  so  far  as  they  have  influenced  the  writers  of  stories,  they  are 
of  little  importance. 

The  editors  of  this  collection  have  approached  their  task  of  selection 
with  open  minds:  they  have  not  allowed,  themselves  to  be  influenced  by 


vi  PREFACE 

any  theory  of  what  a  short  story  should  be,  except  that  which  requires 
that  it  be  interesting  of  its  kind.  While  it  is  quite  true  that  Maupassant 
was  a  more  highly  inspired  artist  than  say  the  Seventeenth  Century 
Dutchman  Jacob  Gate,  it  does  not  follow  that  Cats1  fable  which  is 
printed  in  the  pages  that  follow,  is  not  a  story  because  The  Necklace 
is  a  masterpiece. 

So,  without  confining  themselves  to  any  theory  of  classification,  the 
editors  have  chosen  a  wide  variety  of  stories  designed  to  appeal  to  the 
general  reader,  and  perhaps  to  the  student  as  well,  in  the  belief  that  what 
has  delighted  the  Chinese  from  time  immemorial,  the  ancient  Egyptians, 
the  Jewish  shepherds  and  warriors  of  Biblical  times,  the  Greeks  of 
Homer's  days  and  the  Romans  of  Caesar's,  will  appeal  with  equal  force 
to  the  inhabitants  of  the  civilized  world  of  the  Twentieth  Century. 

Despite  the  indefatigable  efforts  of  editors  and  publishers  in  unearth- 
ing the  little-known  or  quite  forgotten  tales  of  certain  countries  or  peo- 
ples, and  despite  the  bewilderingly  numerous  collections  of  stories  pub- 
lished in  sets  of  many  volumes,  it  has  never  before  been  possible  for  the 
reader  to  make  the  acquaintance  of  so  many  stories  as  are  here  brought 
together  within  die  covers  of  a  single  volume.  It  has  even  been  neces- 
sary to  translate  the  work  of  several  writers  unknown  to  readers  of 
English,  and  in  many  cases  to  make  known  through  translation  some 
particular  story  hitherto  not  accessible.  The  volume,  therefore,  besides 
being  the  first  'to  include  examples  of  stories  of  practically  the*entire 
world,  introduces  several  new  writers  to  English  and  American  readers. 
Among  the  stories  that  appear  here  for  the  first  time  in  English  are  those 
by  the  Hungarians  Mikszath  and  Molnar;  the  Spanish-Americans  Darfo, 
Blanco-Fombona  and  Garcia-Calderon;  the  Dutchman  Heijermans;  the 
Pole  Prus;  the  Bulgarian  Elin-Pelin;  the  Jugoslavs  Matos,  Lazarevich, 
and  Cankar;  and  the  Belgian  Lemonnier. 

That  Great  Short  Stories  of  the  World  is  not  as  nearly  perfect  a  col- 
lection as  the  editors  and  publisher  would  have  liked  to  make  it  is  a 
foregone  conclusion.  Has  ever  any  anthology  entirely  pleased  its  maker? 
Has  it  ever  pleased  every  critic  and  every  reader?  It  is  hardly  necessary 
to  state  that  the  first  limitation  imposed  upon  the  editors  was  that  of 
space.  It  was  not,  of  course,  possible  to  include  more  than  a  compara- 
tively small  number  of  the  great  stories  available;  it  was  not  possible  to 
include  many  stories  which,  like  Vigny's  Laurette,  were  too  long;  it  was 
inadvisable  to  reprint  too  many  of  the  stories  that  were  in  every  other  col- 
lection, but  on  the  other  hand  it  would  not  have  done  to  omit  all  the  rec- 
ognized masterpieces,  like  Maupassant's  Necklace.  To  include  stories  even 
from  those  countries  which  had  made  the  most  important  contributions 
to  the  world's  store  of  tales  was  in  itself  a  hazardous  undertaking,  but 
when  it  came  to  selecting  precisely  what  stories  should  be  chosen  to  give 
an  adequate  notion  of  the  richness  and  variety  of  a  country  like  France, 


PREFACE  TO 

it  seemed  at  first  a  rather  hopeless  task.  How,  for  instance,  was  it  pos- 
sible to  give  the  reader  a  fair  notion  of  the  beautiful  stories  of  the  Thir- 
teenth and  Fourteenth  Centuries?  It  was  imperative  that  out  of  a  pos- 
sible hundred  only  two  or  three  should  be  chosen. 

In  the  case  of  modern  writers,  the  difficulties  were  much  greater. 
Every  one  has  his  favourite  authors  and  favourite  stories.  It  was  not  the 
intention  of  the  editors  to  bring  this  collection  up  to  the  minute:  the 
works  of  our  immediate  contemporaries  are  easily  accessible.  If  certain 
contemporaries  like  Cabell  and  Anderson,  Bojer  and  Gorky  are  included, 
it  is  either  because  they  have  their  roots  in  the  Nineteenth  Century  or  that 
they  represent  in  a  general  way  some  modern  trend  that  seems  more  or 
less  permanent,  and  because  their  work  is  intrinsically  worth  printing  in 
a  collection  of  this  sort. 

Finally,  came  considerations  of  copyright.  In  almost  every  instance 
both  publishers  anfl  writers  have  been  helpful  in  allowing  copyright 
stories  to  be  reprinted,  but  occasionally  it  has  been  necessary  to  omit  the 
work  of  certain  authors  because  either  the  publisher  or  the  agent  was 
unabletto  see  his  way  clear  to  cooperating  with  the  editors. 

Although  the  final  selection  of  all  stories  is  a  matter  for  which  the 
editors  are  alone  responsible,  the  lists  were  submitted  to  and  passed  upon 
by  a  number  of  specialists,  particularly  in  the  case  of  those  sections  whose 
literature  was  little  known.  These  persons  have  enabled  the  editors  to 
make  fheir  work  more  inclusive  and  more  genuinely  representative  of  all 
peoples  and  nations  than  would  otherwise  have  been  possible.  But  while 
every  effort  has  been  made  to  show,  both  by  the  stories  themselves  and 
by  the  brief  notes,  what  each  nation  and  race  has  contributed  to  the 
art  of  the  Short  Story,  the  attitude  of  the  editors  throughout  has  been 
that  of  every  true  teller  of  tales:  it  is  their  wish  that  these  stories 
shall  be  read  and  enjoyed  by  the  general  public.  They  were  written  not 
for  critics  and  historians,  editors  of  anthologies  and  specialists,  but  for 
all  mankind.  They  have  tried  to  bear  in  mind  that  the  Short  Story  is 
a  "tale  which  holdeth  children  from  play  and  old  men  from  the  chimney 


corner." 


To  many  publishers,  both  English  and  American,  thanks  are  due  for 

their  courtesy  and  assistance  in  the  use  of  copyright  material.  Specific 

acknowledgment  is  made  in  connection  with  the  separate  stories.  For 

constant  and  invaluable  assistance  of  every  sort  the  editors  take  this  occa- 

h  to  thank  Cecile  S.  Clark,  Irma  Lieber,  and  Mr.  Guy  Holt.    A  num- 

lof  authors  have  themselves  granted  permission  to  reprint  and  in  some 

fences  given  valuable  advice  regarding  what  sto.i/s  to  uskj.  Acknowl- 

Ibent  is  hereby  gratefully  made  to  Maxim  Gorky,  George  Moore, 


viii  PREFACE 

James  Branch  Cabell,  Per  Hallstrom,  Johan  Bojer,  Arthur  Morrison, 
and  Abraham  Raisin.  Among  the  many  advisers  and  translators  who  have 
helped  in  the  preparation  of  one  or  more  sections,  the  editors  are  espe- 
cially grateful  to  Miss  Hanna  Astrup  Larsen,  Dr.  Isaac  Goldberg,  Dr. 
A.  C.  van  P.  Huizinga,  Mrs.  Velma  S.  Howard,  Prof.  Sarka*B.  Hrbkova, 
Mr.  Gray  Casement,  Mr.  Rajner  Hlacha,  Mr.  Ivan  Mladineo,  Mr. 
Adamantios  Polisoides,  and  Mr.  George  Corn. 

THE    EDITORS 
October,  1925. 


PUBLISHER'S  NOTE 

Every  care  has  been  taken  to  discover  the  owners  of  all  copyrighted 
stories,  but  if  any  necessary  acknowledgments  have  been  omitted,  or  any 
stories  included  without  due  permission,  we  trust  the  copyright-holders 
will  accept  our  apologies. 


Contents 


PAGE 

Ancient  Egypt 

INTRODUCTION                 .......  3 

THE  TWO  BROTHERS    (ANPU   AND   BATA) Anonymous    .  3 

SETNA   AND   THE    MAGIC    BOOK Anonymous      .  .  .11 

Ancient  Greece 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  .22 

EUM.EUS'  TALE — Homer           .....  23 

THE  COUNTRY   MOUSE  AND  THE  TOWN   MOUSE &SOf           .  2$ 

KING   RHAMPSINITUS   AND    THE   THIEF Herodotus             .  26 

PHINEUS  AND  THE  HARPIES — Afollonius  of  Rhodes    .           .  29 

THE   ROBBERS  OF   EGYPT HeliodoruS              .              .             *  32 

'Ancvent  Rome 

INTRODUCTION                 .......  37 

HORATIUS  AT  THE   BRIDGE Livy         ....  39 

ORPHEUS  AND    EURYDICE Ovid    .              .              .              .  4! 

THE   SHIPWRECK   OF  SIMONIDES Ph&druS    ...  43 

THE  MATRON  OF  EPHEsus — Petronius    ....  44 

THE  HAUNTED  HOUSE — Plifty  the  Younger            .           -  46 

THE  DREAM — Afuleius         ......  48 

Biblical  Literature 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  -53 

THE  BOOK  OF  RUTH-*»-Old  Testament         .           .           .  54 

THE  HISTORY  OF  SUSANNA — The  Apocrypha     .           .           •  59 

THE  PRODIGAL  SON — New  .Testament          ...  62 

THE  RAISING  OF  LAZARUS — New  Testament     ...  63 

RABBI  AKIVA — The  Talmud         .....  65 

THE  JEWISH  MOTHER — The  Talmud     .          .          .          «  66 

Ancient  India 

INTRODUCTION                 .              .              .              .              .              •              •  67 

THE  ASS  IN  THE  LION'S  SKIN — Jataka         ...  68 
THE  DOVE  AND  THE  CROW — Panchatantra        .                    .69 

IX 


x  CONTENTS 

PAGE 
THE  STORV  OF  DEVADATTA Somadeva  .  .  .  J2 

THE  JACKAL — Hitopadesa     ......        74 

• 

Persia 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  ?  .76 

JAMSHID  AND  ZUHAK — Firdawsi         .           .  .  .  76 

THE  SAILOR  AND   THE   PEARL   MERCHANT Anonymous        .          84 

Arabia 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  •  91 

KHALED  AND  DJAIDA Al-Asma'I        ....  <)2 

ABOU  HASSAN  THE  WAG — Thousand  and  One  Nights  .      100 

Great  Britain 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  Il6 

GRENDEL'S  RAID — Beowulf       .          .          .          .  .           118 

ESYLLT  AND  SABRINA — Geoffrey  of  Monmouth          .  .120 

THE  HUMBLING  OF  joviNiAN — Gesta  Romanorum  .    t      126 

LLUDD  AND  LLEVELYS — The  Mabinogion           .           .  •      131 

LAUNCELOT'S  TOURNEY — Sir  Thomas  Malory      .  .           135 

ROBERTO'S  TALE — Robert  Greene           .          .          .  .142 

TRUE   RELATION  OF  THE  APPARITION  OF  ONE   MRS.  VEAL 

Daniel  Defoe 145 

THE  STORY  OF  AN  HEIR — Josefh  Addison         .  .  .152 

THE  DISABLED  SOLDIER — Oliver  Goldsmith  .  .  156 

THE  BRIDAL  OF  JANET  DALRYMPLE Sir   Walter  Scott          .        l6o 

THE  WHITE  TROUT — Samuel  Lover  .  .  .  .  165 

THE  QUEER  CLIENT — Charles  Dickens    .          .          .          .168 

A  TERRIBLY  STRANGE   BED Wtlkie  Collins  .  •  178 

SQUIRE  PETRICK'S  LADY — Thomas  Hardy  .          .          .191 

THRAWN  JANET — Robert  Louis  Stevenson  .           .           .            199 

THE  SELFISH  GIANT — Oscar  Wilde         .  .          .           .207 

JULIA  CAHILL'S  CURSE — George  Moore  .          .          .           211 

THAT  BRUTE  SIMMONS — Arthur  Morgson  .          .          .215 

Germany 

INTRODUCTION  .,  .  .  .  .  .  .222 

THE   LAY   OF   HILDEBRAND Anonymous       .  .  .  223 

SIEGFRIED  AND  KRIEMHILD — The  Lay  of  the  Nibelungs    .      225 
THE  COMING  OF  GANDIN — Gottfried  von  Strassburg       .  237 

BRUIN    THE    BEAR    AND    REYNARD    THE    FOX — Reynard    the 

Fox 241 

EULENSPIEGEL  AND  THE  MERCHANT Eulenspiegel  ,  246 

DOCTOR  FAUST  AND  THE  USURER — The  History  of  Dr.  J. 

Faust       .         . 249 


CONTENTS  » 

PAGE 

THE  SICK  WIFE — Christian  Gellert     .           .           .           .  251 
LITTLE  BRIAR-ROSE — The  Brothers  Grimm     .          .          .253 

THE  STORV  OF  SERAPION — E.  T.  A.  Hoffmann    .          .  256 

A  LEGEND  OF  THE  DANCE — Gottfried  Keller  .           .           .  265 

THE  FURY — Paul  Heyse            .....  269 
THE  TRIPLE  WARNING — Arthur  Schnitzler        .           .           .284 

A  NEW-YEAR'S  EVE  CONFESSION — Hermann  Sudermann   ,  288 

France 

INTRODUCTION                 ......  294 

THE  DIVIDED  HORSECLOTH — Bemier  ....  296 

THE    PRIEST  AND   THE    MULBERRIES Anonymous         .  30! 

THE  LAY  OF  THE  TWO  LOVERS — Marie  de  France          .  303 
THE   Pious   LADY   AND   THE    GRAY   FRIAR — Marguerite   de 

Navarre     ........  307 

HE  WHO  MARRIED  A  DUMB  WIFE — Francois  Rabelais    .  310 
THE  ROAST-MEAT  SELLER — Francois  Rabelais    .                       .312 

LITTLE  RED  RIDING-HOOD — Charles  Perrault          .           .  313 

THE  FOUR  FRIENDS — Jean  de  La  Fontaine        .           .  315 

MEMNON   THE    PHILOSOPHER Voltaire           .               .               .*  317 

LAUSUS  AND  LYDIA — /.  F.  Marmontel   ....  322 

rAE  MYSTERIOUS  MANSION — Honore  de  Balzac     .           .  329 

MATEO   FALCONE — Prosper  Merimee       ....  338 

THE  MUMMY'S  FOOT — Theofhile  Gautier    .           .           .  348 

THE  TORTURE  OF  HOPE — Villicrs  de  Uhle  Adam      .            .  358 

THE  LAST  LESSON — Al'phonse  Daudet            .           .           .  362 

THE   FAIRY  AMOUREUSE fimilc  Zola       ....  365 

THE  SUBSTITUTE — Franco  is  Coffee   .           .           .           ,  370 

OUR  LADY'S  JUGGLER — Anatole  France  .  378 

THE  NECKLACE — Guy  de  Maupassant          .           .           ,  383 

Italy 

INTRODUCTION                 .......  39! 

THE  BELL  OF  ATRi — The  Hundred  Ancient  Tales  .          .  392 

THE  FALCON — Giovanni  Boccaccio          ....  393 

GALGANO — Ser  Giovanni            .....  398 
THE  TWO  AMBASSADORS — Franco  Sacchetti         .           .           .401 

THE  CAVALIER  OF  TOLEDO — Masuccio  (Guardato)            .  405 

BELPHAGOR — Niccolo  Macchiovelli          ....  409 

A  KING  IN  DISGUISE — Matteo  Bandello        .           .           .  417 
THE  FRIAR  OF  NOVARA — Agnolo  Firenzuola     .           .           .421 

THE  GREEK  MERCHANT — Giovanbattista  Giraldi  Cinthio  .  427 

THE  VENETIAN  SILK-MERCER Carlo  Gozzi       .              .     '  *      .  430 


rii  CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CAVALLERIA  RUSTICANA — Giovanni  Vcrga  .  .  .  435 

THE  PEASANT'S  WILL — Antonio  Fogazzaro       .          .          .  440 

MENDICANT  MELODY — Edmondo  de  Amicis  .  .  445 

LULU'S  TRIUMPH — Matilde  Serao  .  449 

THE  HERO — Gabriele  d'Annunzio       ....  460 

TWO  MIRACLES — Grazia  Deledda  ....  464 

Spain 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  -471 

THE  MIRACLE  OF  THE  JEW — Chronicle  of  the  Cid      .  472 

THE  SON  AND  HIS  FRIENDS — Juan  Manuel        .  .  .474 

HOW    LAZARO    SERVED    A    BULERO — Die  go    Hurtado    dc 

Mendoza        .......  478 

GUZMAN  AND  MY  LORD  CARDINAL MatCO  Alcmdn       .  .481 

RINCONETE  AND  CORTADILLO — Miguel  Cervantes  .  485 

THE  TALL  WOMAN — Pedro  Antonio  de  Alar  con  .  .      502 

MAESE  P£REZ,  THE  ORGANIST — Gustavo  Adolfo  Becquer  .9     513 
ADIOS,  CORDERA! — Leofoldo  Alas  .          .          .          .522 

China 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  .528 

THE  STORY  OF  MING-Y — Marvelous  Tales   .          .          .    ^      528 
A  FICKLE  WIDOW — Marvelous  Tales      .  .          .  538 

THE    VIRTUOUS  DAUGHTER-IN-LAW P*U  Sung-Ling         .  545 

Japan 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  -553 

THE  FORTY-SEVEN  RONINS — Anonymous      .  .  .  554 

THE  PIER — Mori  Ogwai      .  .  .  .  .  565 

A  DOMESTIC  ANIMAL — Shimazaki  Toson     .          .  .  569 

Holland 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  -574 

THE    HIGHER   THE   FLIGHT  THE    LOWER    THE    FALL Jacob 

Cats 574 

THE  STORY  OF  SAID j AH — Eduard  Douwes  Dekker  .  .  576 

GRANDFATHER'S  BIRTHDAY  PRESENT  —  Herman  Heijer- 

mans    ........  586 

Hungary 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  -593 

THE  INVISIBLE  WOUND — Karoly  Kisfahtdi  .          .          .          593 
A  *ALL'— Mounts  Jokai       ......     600 


CONTENTS  »u 

PAGE 

THE  GREEN  FLY — Kalman  Mikszath  .          .  .          .  607 

THE  SILVER  HILT — Ferenc  Molnar         .  ,      ^  .  .613 

o 

Russia 

INTRODUCTION  .......       620 

THE  SNOW  STORM — Alexander  Pushkin        .  .          .  621 

ST.  JOHN'S  EVE — Nikolai  Gogol      .  .  .  .  .631 

THE  DISTRICT  DOCTOR — I  van  Turgcncv       .  .  .  644 

THE    CHRISTMAS    TREE    AND    THE     WEDDING Feodor    Dos- 

toicvsky      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  -651 

THE  LONG  EXILE Leo  Tolstoy  .  .  .  .  658 

THE  OLD  BELL-RINGER — Vladimir  Korolenko    .  .  .      664 

THE  SIGNAL — Vscvolod  Garshin          ....  668 

THE  BET — Anton  Chekhov  .  .  .  .  .676 

ONE  AUTUMN  NIGHT — Maxim  Gorky          .  .  .  682 

SILENCE — Leonid  Andreyev  .....      689 

Poland 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  ,  .  .  .70! 

THE    LIGHTHOUSE     KEEPER    OF    ASPINWALL Hcnryk    Sicn- 

kiewicz  .......  701 

THE    HUMAN   TELEGRAPH Boleslav  Prus  .  .  •        7J3 

FOREBODINGS — Stefan  fccromski          .  .  .  .  716 

Yiddish 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  .72! 

A  WOMAN'S  WRATH — Isaac  Loeb  Peretz  .           .           .           721 

THE  PASSOVER  GUEST — Sholom  Aleichem  .           .                 725 

A  PICNIC — S.  Libin         .           .           .  .           .           .            730 

THE  KADDISH — Abraham  Raisin    .          .  .          .           -736 

ABANDONED Sholom   Asck         .....  739 

IN  THE  STORM — David  Pinski      .....      743 

The  Scandinavian  Countries 

INTRODUCTION  .......       748 

Iceland 

BALDR'S  BALE— Snorri  Sturluson         .          .          .          .  750 

REGIN'S  TALE — Volsunga  Saga      .          .          .          .          -753 

Denmark 

THE  SHEPHERDESS  AND  THE  SWEEP — Hans  Christian  An- 
dersen ........  756 


riv  CONTENTS 

PAGE 

HENRIK  AND  ROSALIE — Meyer  Aron  Goldschmidt       .  759 

TWO  WORLDS — Jens  Peter  Jacobsen  .          .          .          .  766 

• 

Norway 

THE  SMITH  WHO  COULD  NOT  GET  INTO  HELL — Peter  Chris- 
ten AsVjornsen  and  J  or  gen  Moe     .  .  .  .770 
THE  FATHER — Bjornstjerne  Bjornson          ,          .          .  774 
SKOBELEF — Johan  Bojer      .          .           .          .          .          -777 

Sweden 

LOVE  AND  BREAD— ^tt^wrf  Strindberg  .          .          .          -785 

THE  ECLIPSE — Selma  Lagerlof           .  .           .           .            791 

THE  FALCON — Per  Hallstrom        .  .          .          .          -      795 

Belgium 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  8oi 

THE  MYSTERIOUS  PICTURE — Charles  de  Coster     .  .  802 

THE  MASSACRE  OF  THE  INNOCENTS — Maurice  Maeterlinck  .      806 
THE  SOUL  OF  VEERE — Camille  Lemonnier  .  .  814 

ONE  NIGHT — Emile  Verhaeren      .          -.  .  .  .818 

Jugoslavia  % 

INTRODUCTION  .......        823 

Croatian 

THE  NEIGHBOR — Antun  Gustav  Ma&os        .          .          .          824 

Slovenian 

CHILDREN  AND  OLD  FOLK Ivan  Cankar  .  .  .83! 

Serbian 

AT  THE  WELL — Laza  K.  Lazarevich  .          .          .  833 

Czechoslovakia 

INTRODUCTION  .......        846 

THE  VAMPIRE — Jan  Neruda     .....  846 

FOLTf N'S  DRUM — Svatofluk  Ikech  .  849 

Modern  Greece 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  .  .  .858 

THE  PRIEST'S  TALE — Demetrios  Bikelas       .          .          .  858 

Roumania 

INTRODUCTION  .  .  .  .  »  »  .       866 


CONTENTS  XT 

PACK 

THE  EASTER  TORCH — /.  L.  Caragiale          .          .          .  867 

WHAT  VASILE  SAW — Marie,  Queen  of  Roumania      .  .878 

Bulgaria 

INTRODUCTION  ....... 

THE  COMMISSIONER'S  CHRISTMAS — Diml'r  Ivanov*. 
South  America 

INTRODUCTION  .......       896 

Costa  Rica 

CHIVALRY — Ricardo  Fernandez-Gar  da        .           .          .  897 

Brazil 

THE  ATTENDANT'S  CONFESSION — /.  M .  Machado  de  Assis  .     903 

Peru 

THE  LEGEND  OF  PYGMALION — Ventura  Garcia-C  alder  on  912 

Venezuela 

CREOLE  DEMOCRACY — Rufino  Blanco-Fombona          .  .918 

Nicaragua 

THE  DEAF  SATYR Ruben  Dario           ....  923 

United  States 

INTRODUCTION         .......  927 

THE  SPECTER  BRIDEGROOM — Washington  Irving       .  .928 

MRS.  BULLFROG — Nathaniel  Hawthorne       .           .           .  940 

THE  TELL-TALE  HEART — Edgar  Allan  Poe      .           .  .      946 

JOURNALISM  IN  TENNESSEE — Mark  Twain           .          .  950 

THE  MAN  AND  THE  SNAKE — Ambrose  Bierce  .          .  -955 

-     THE  OUTCASTS  OF  POKER  FLAT — Bret  Harte        .          .  961 

THE  STORY  IN  IT — Henry  James            .          .           .  .      970 

KING  SOLOMON  OF  KENTUCKY — James  Lane  Allen      .  984 

Miss  TEMPY'S  WATCHERS — Sarah  Orne  Jeweit          .  .    1001 

A  LETTER  AND  A  PARAGRAPH — Henry  Cuyler  Eunncr     .  1009 

SUPPLY  AND  DEMAND — O.  Henry          .           .           .  .1017 

A  DARK-BROWN  DOG — Stephen  Crane  .          .                     .  1025 

THE  LOST  PHOEBE — Theodore  Dreiser    .          .           .     -  -  .    1030 

SOPHISTICATION — Sherwood  Anderson           .          .          .  1043 
A  WAGNER  MATINEE — Witt*  Gather      ....    1050 

A  BROWN  WOMAN — James  Branch  Cab  ell  .         .          .  1056 


•GREAT 

SHORT   STORIES 
OF    THE    WORLD 


Ancient  Egypt 


INTRODUCTION 

IN  determining  the  development  of  the  short  story  in  Egypt,  it  is 
necessary  to  study  the  inscriptions  on  papyri  and  stone  monuments, 
a  process  which  the  archaeologists  are  better  fitted  to  accomplish  than  the 
literary  historians,  for  there  appears  to  have  been  little  development  in 
the  form,  and  the  earliest  do  not  differ  radically  from  the  later  stories, 
such  as  the  two  here  included. 

The  few  Egyptian  tales  that  have  survived  may  date  back  as  early 
as  the*  Thirtieth  Century  B.C.  So  far  as  can  be  determined,  they  are  in- 
digenously Egyptian,  having  Egyptian  names,  backgrounds,  and  customs. 
They  are  not  only  an  invaluable  commentary  on  the  lives  of  the  men  of 
those  times,  but  also  genuinely  moving  and  interesting  stories. 

Tbe  tales  from  Egypt  possess  an  extraordinary  interest  in  that  they 
are  the  very  earliest  examples  that  we  possess.  That  they  were  the  earliest 
in  order  of  composition  is  naturally  an  open  question:  before  the  year 
3000  B.C.  we  can  only  conjecture.  How  many  thousands  of  years  before 
that  time  the  plots  were  invented  we  cannot  know,  but  the  art  with 
which  The  Two  Brothers  and  Setna  and  the  Magic  Book  are  contrived 
indicates  that  they  are  comparatively  late  products. 

By  the  time  Egypt  was  conquered  by  Alexander  the  Great,  the  ancient 
literature  of  the  country  had  been  superseded. 


THE  TWO  BROTHERS 
(ANPU  AND  BATA) 

(Anonymous:  about  1400  B.C.) 

THE  manuscript  of  this  story,  one  of  the  oldest  in  the  world,  came 
from  the  workshop  of  the  scribe  Anena,  who  flourished  in  the 
reigns  of  Rameses  II,  Menephtah,  and  Setui  II.  The  work  of  an 
unknown  author,  it  is  one  of  the  finest  examples  of  the  short  story 
in  existence.  The  theme,  which  has  been  used  numberless  times,  is 

3 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

easily  recognizable  as  that  of  the  story  of  Potiphar's  wife.  It  has 
also  been  used  in  The  History  of  Prince  Amziad  and  Prince  Aisad 
in  The  Arabian  Nights,  and  later  by  Dante  in  The  Divine  Comedy. 

As  in  all  great  art,  we  are  here  impressed  by  the  modernity  of 
the  author's  attitude,  which  is  only  another  way  of  saying  that  he 
understood  his  characters  and  was  an  accomplished  artist.  • 

The  translation  here  used  is  that  by  William  Flinders  Petrie  in 
Egyptian  Tales,  Vol.  2,  published  in  1895  by  Methuen  &  Co.,  by 
whose  permission  it  is  here  reprinted.  The  original  manuscript  is 
a  part  of  the  so-called  Madame  d'Orbiney  Papyrus.  There  is  no 
title  in  the  original  story,  but  the  transcriber  has  named  it  Anfu 
and  Bata. 


o 


THE  TWO  BROTHERS 
(ANPU  AND  BATA) 

INCE  there  were  two  brethren,  of  one  mother  and  one  father; 
Anpu  was  the  name  of  the  elder,  and  Bata  was  the  name  ^>f  the 
younger.  Now,  as  for  Anpu  he  had  a  house,  and  he  had  a  wife.  But  his 
little  brother  was  to  him  as  it  were  a  son;  he  it  was  who  made  for  him 
his  clothes;  he  it  was  who  followed  behind  his  oxen  to  the  fields;  he  it 
was  who  did  the  plowing;  he  it  was  who  harvested  the  corn;  he  it  was 
who  did  for  him  all  the  matters  that  were  in  the  field.  Behotd,  his 
younger  brother  grew  to  be  an  excellent  worker,  there  was  not  his  equal 
in  the  whole  land;  behold,  the  spirit  of  a  god  was  in  him. 

Now  after  this  the  younger  brother  followed  his  oxen  in  his  daily 
manner;  and  every  evening  he  turned  again  to  the  house,  laden  with  all 
the  herbs  of  the  field,  with  milk  and  with  wood,  and  with  all  things  of 
the  field.  And  he  put  them  down  before  his  elder  brother,  who  was  sit- 
ting with  his  wife;  and  he  drank  and  ate,  and  he  lay  down  in  his  stable 
with  the  cattle.  And  at  the  dawn  of  day  he  took  bread  which  he  had 
baked,  and  laid  it  before  his  elder  brother;  and  he  took  with  him  his 
bread  to  the  field,  and  he  drave  his  cattle  to  pasture  in  the  fields.  And 
as  he  walked  behind  his  cattle,  they  said  to  him,  "Good  is  the  herbage 
which  is  in  that  place";  and  he  listened  to  all  that  they  said,  and  he 
took  them  to  the  good  place  which  they  desired.  And  the  cattle  which 
Were  before  him  became  exceeding  excellent,  and  they  multiplied  greatly. 

Now  at  the  time  of  plowing  his  elder  brother  said  unto  him:  "Let  us 
make  ready  for  ourselves  a  goodly  yoke  of  oxen  for  plowing,  for  the 
land  has  come  out  from  the  water:  it  is  fit  for  plowing.  Moreover,  do 
thou  come  to  the  field  with  corn,  for  we  will  begin  the  plowing  in  the 
morrow  morning."  Thus  said  he  to  him;  and  his  younger  brother  did 
all  things  as  his  elder  brother  had  spoken  unto  him  to  do  them. 

And  when  the  morn  was  come,  they  went  to  the  fields  with  their 


ANCIENT  EGYPT— ANONYMOUS  5 

things;  and  their  hearts  were  pleased  exceedingly  with  their  task  in  the 
beginning  of  their  work.  And  it  came  to  pass  after  this  that  as  they 
swere  in  the  field  they  stopped  for  corn,  and  he  sent  his  younger  brother, 
saying,  "Haste  thou,  bring  to  us  corn  from  the  farm."  And  the  younger 
brother  found  the  wife  of  his  elder  brother,  as  she  was  sitting  tying 
her  hair.  He  said  to  her:  "Get  up,  and  give  to  me  corn,  that  I  may  run 
to  the  field,  for  my  elder  brother  hastened  me;  do  not  delay."  She  said 
to  him:  "Go,  open  the  bin,  and  thou  shalt  take  to  thyself  according 
to  thy  will,  that  I  may  not  drop  my  locks  of  hair  while 'I  dress 
them."  :«  ^ 

The  youth  went  into  the  stable;  he  took  a  large  measure,  for  he  de- 
sired to  take  much  corn;  he  loaded  it  with  wheat  and  barley;  and  he 
went  out  carrying  it.  She  said  to  him,  "How  much  of  the  corn  that  is 
wanted,  is  that  which  is  on  thy  shoulder?"  He  said  to  her:  "Three 
bushels  of  barley,  and  two  of  wheat,  in  all  five;  these  are  what  are  upon 
my  shoulder.''  Thus  said  he  to  her.  And  she  conversed  with  him,  saying, 
"There  is  great  strength  in  thee,  for  I  see  thy  might  every  day."  And 
her  hfeart  knew  him  with  the  knowledge  of  youth.  And  she  arose  and 
came  to  him,  and  conversed  with  him,  saying,  "Come,  stay  with  me, 
and  it  shall  be  well  for  thee,  and  I  will  make  for  thee  beautiful  gar- 
ments." Then  the  youth  became  like  a  panther  of  the  south  with  fury 
at  the  evil  speech  which  she  had  made  to  him;  and  she  feared  greatly. 
And  'he  spake  unto  her,  saying:  "Behold,  thou  art  to  me  as  a  mother, 
thy  husband  is  to  me  as  a  father,  for  he  who  is  elder  than  I  has  brought 
me  up.  What  is  this  wickedness  that  thou  hast  said  to  me?  Say  it  not  to 
me  again.  For  I  will  not  tell  it  to  any  man,  for  I  will  not  let  it  be 
uttered  by  the  mouth  of  any  man."  JHe  lifted  up  his  burden,  and  he 
went  to  the  field  and  came  to  his  elder  brother;  and  they  took  up  their 
work,  to  labor  at  their  task.  .* 

Now  afterward,  at  eventime,  his  elder  brother  was  returning  to  his 
house;  and  the  younger  brother  was  following  after  his  oxen,  and  he 
loaded  himself  with  all  the  things  of  the  field;  and  he  brought  his  oxen 
before  him,  to  make  them  lie  down  in  their  stable  which  was  in  the 
farm.  And  behold  the  wife  of  the  elder  brother  was  afraid  for  the 
words  which  she  had  said.  She  took  a  parcel  of  fat,  she  became  like  one 
who  is  evilly  beaten,  desiring  to  say  to  her  husband,  "It  is  thy  younger 
brother  who  has  done  this  wrong."  Her  husband  returned  in  the  even, 
as  was  his  wont  of  every  day;  he  came  unto  his  house;  he  found  his 
wife  ill  of  violence;  she  did  not  give  him  water  upon  his  hands  as  he 
used  to  have,  she  did  not  make  a  light  before  him,  his  house  was  in 
darkness,  and  she  was  lying  very  sick.  Her  husband  said  to  her,  "Who 
has  spoken  with  thee?"  Behold  she  said:  "No  one  has  spoken  with  me 
except  thy  younger  brother.  When  he  came  to  take  for  thee  corn  he 
found  me  sitting  alone;  he  said  to  me,  'Come,  let  us  stay  together, 


6  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

tie  up  thy  hair.9  Thus  spake  he  to  me.  I  did  not  listen  to  him,  but  thus 
spake  I  to  him:  Behold,  am  I  not  thy  mother,  is  not  thy  elder  brother 
to  thee  as  a  father?'  And  he  feared,  and  he  beat  me  to  stop  me  from 
making  report  to  thee,  and  if  thou  lettest  him  live  I  shall  die.  Now 
behold  he  is  coming  in  the  evening;  and  I  complain  of  these  wicked 
words,  for  he  would  have  done  this  even  in  daylight." 

And  the  elder  brother  became  as  a  panther  of  the  south;  he  sharpened 
his  knife;  he  took  it  in  his  hand;  he  stood  behind  the  door  of  his  stable 
to  slay  his  younger  brother  as  he  came  in  the  evening  to  bring  his  cattle 
into  die  stable. 

Now  the  sun  went  down,  and  he  loaded  himself  with  herbs  in  his 
daily  manner.  He  came,  and  his  foremost  cow  entered  the  stable,  and 
she  said  to  her  keeper,  "Behold  thou  thy  elder  brother  standing  before 
thee  with  his  knife  to  slay  thee;  flee  from  before  him."  He  heard  what 
his  first  cow  had  said;  and  the  next  entering,  she  also  said  likewise.  He 
looked  beneath  the  door  of  the  stable;  he  saw  the  feet  of  his  elder 
brother;  he  was  standing  behind  the  door,  and  his  knife  was  in  his  hand. 
He  cast  down  his  load  to  the  ground,  and  betook  himself  to  flee  sw'-ftly; 
and  his  elder  brother  pursued  after  him  with  his  knife.  Then  the  younger 
brother  cried  out  unto  Ra  Harakhti,  saying,  "My  good  Lord!  Thou  art 
he  who  divides  the  evil  from  the  good."  And  Ra  stood  and  heard  all 
his  cry;  and  Ra  made  a  wide  water  between  him  and  his  elder  brother, 
and  it  was  full  of  crocodiles;  and  the  one  brother  was  on  one  bank?  and 
the  other  on  the  other  bank;  and  the  elder  brother  smote  twice  on  his 
hands  at  not  slaying  him.  Thus  did  he.  And  the  younger  brother  called 
to  the  elder  on  the  bank,  saying;  "Stand  still  until  the  dawn  of  day; 
and  when  Ra  ariseth,  I  shall  judge  with  thee  before  him,  and  he  dis- 
cerneth  between  the  good  and  the  evil.  For  I  shall  not  be  with  thee  any 
more  forever;  I  shall  not  be  in  the  place  in  which  thou  art;  I  shall  go 
to  the  valley  of  the  acacia." ; 

Now  when  the  land  was  lightened,  and  the  next  day  appeared,  Ra- 
Harakhti  arose,  and  one  looked  unto  the  other.  And  the  youth  spake 
with  his  elder  brother,  saying:  "Wherefore  earnest  thou  after  me  to 
slay  me  in  craftiness,  when  thou  didst  not  hear  the  words  of  my  mouth?, 
For  I  am  thy  brother  in  truth,  and  thou  art  to  me  as  a  father,  and  thy 
wife  even  as  a  mother:  is  it  not  so?  Verily,  when  I  was  sent  to  bring 
for  us  corn,  thy  wife  said  to  me,  'Come,  stay  with  me';  for  behold  this 
has  been  turned  over  unto  thee  into  another  wise."  And  he  caused  him 
to  understand  of  all  that  happened  with  him  and  his  wife.  And  he 
swore  an  oath  by  Ra  Harakhti,  saying,  "Thy  coming  to  slay  me  by 
deceit  with  thy  knife  was  an  abomination."  Then  the  youth  took  a 
knife,  and  cut  off  of  his  flesh,  and  cast  it  into  the  water,  and  the  fish 
Swallowed  it.  He  failed;  he  became  faint;  and  his  elder  brother  cursed 
his  own  heart  greatly;  he  stood  weeping  for  him  afar  off;  he  knew  not 


ANCIENT  EGYPT— ANONYMOUS  7 

how  to  pass  over  to  where  his  younger  brother  was,  because  of  the  croco- 
diles. And  the  younger  brother  called  unto  him,  saying:  "Whereas  thou 
Jiast  devised  an  evil  thing,  wilt  thou  not  also  devise  a  good  thing,  even 
like  that  which  I  would  do  unto  thee?  When  thou  goest  to  thy  house 
thou  must  look  to  thy  cattle,  for  I  shall  not  stay  in  the  place  where 
thou  art;  I  am  going  to  the  valley  of  the  acacia.  And  now  as  to  what 
thou  shalt  do  for  me;  it  is  even  that  thou  shalt  come  to  seek  after  me, 
if  thou  perceivest  a  matter,  namely,  that  there  are  things  happening 
unto  me.  And  this  is  what  shall  come  to  pass,  that  I  shall  draw  out  my 
soul,  and  I  shall  put  it  upon  the  top  of  the  flowers  of  the  acacia,  and 
when  the  acacia  is  cut  down,  and  it  falls  to  the  ground,  and  thou  comest 
to  seek  for  it,  if  thou  searchest  for  it  seven  years  do  not  let  thy  heart 
be  wearied.  For  thou  wilt  find  it,  and  thou  must  put  it  in  a  cup  of  cold 
water,  and  expect  that  I  shall  live  again,  that  I  may  make  answer  to 
what  has  been  done  wrong.  And  thou  shalt  know  of  this,  that  is  to 
say,  that  things  are  happening  to  me,  when  one  shall  give  to  thee  a  cup 
of  beer  in  thy  hand,  and  it  shall  be  troubled;  stay  not  then,  for  verily 
it  shall  come  to  pass  with  thee." 

And  the  youth  went  to  the  valley  of  the  acacia;  and  his  elder  brother 
went  unto  his  house;  his  hand  was  laid  on  his  head,  and  he  cast  dust 
on  his  head;  he  came  to  his  house,  and  he  slew  his  wife,  he  cast  her 
to  thf  dogs,  and  he  sat  in  mourning  for  his  younger  brother. 

Now  many  days  after  these  things,  the  younger  brother  was  in  the 
valley  of  the  acacia;  there  was  none  with  him;  he  spent  his  time  in 
hunting  the  beasts  of  the  desert,  and  he  came  back  in  the  even  to  lie 
down  under  the  acacia,  which  bore  his  soul  upon  the  topmost  flower. 
And  after  this  he  built  himself  a  tower  with  his  own  hands, 'in  the 
valley  of  the  acacia;  it  was  full  of  all  good  things,  that  he  might  pro- 
vide for  himself  a  home. 

And  he  went  out  from  his  tower,  and  he  met  the  Nine  Gods,  who 
were  walking  forth  to  look  upon  the  whole  land.  The  Nine  Gods  talked 
one  with  another,  and  they  said  unto  him:  "Ho!  Bata,  bull  of  the  Nine 
Gods,  art  thou  remaining  alone?  Thou  hast  left  thy  village  for  the 
wife  of  Anpu,  thy  elder  brother.  Behold  his  wife  is  slain.  Thou  hast 
given  him  an  answer  to  all  that  was  transgressed  against  thee."  And 
their  hearts  were  vexed  for  him  exceedingly.  And  Ra  Harakhti  said  to 
Khnumu,  "Behold,  frame  thou  a  woman  for  Bata,  that  he  may  not 
remain  alive  alone."  And  Khnumu  made  for  him  a  mate  to  dwell  with 
him.  She  was  more  beautiful  in  her  limbs  than  any  woman  who  is  in 
the  whole  land.  The  essence  of  every  god  was  in  her.  The  seven 
Hathors  came  to  see  her:  they  said  with  one  mouth,  "She  will  die  a 
sharp  death." 

And  Bata  loved  her  very  exceedingly,  and  she  dwelt  in  his  house;  he 
passed  his  time  in  hunting  the  beasts  of  the  desert,  and  brought  and  laid 


8  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF.  THE  WORLD 

them  before  her.  He  said:  "Go  not  outside,  lest  the  sea  seize  thee;  for 
I  cannot  rescue  thee  from  it,  for  I  am  a  woman  like  thee;  my  soul  is 
placed  on  the  head  of  the  flower  of  the  acacia;  and  if  another  find  it^ 
I  must  fight  with  him."  And  he  opened  unto  her  his  heart  in  all  its 
nature.  *  * 

Now  after  these  things  Bata  went  to  hunt  in  his  daily  manner.  And 
the  young  girl  went  to  walk  under  the  acacia  which  was  by  the  side  of 
her  house.  Then  the  sea  saw  her,  and  cast  its  waves  up  after  her.  She 
betook  herself  to  flee  from  before  it.  She  entered  her  house.  And  the 
sea  called  unto  the  acacia,  saying,  "Oh,  would  that  I  could  seize  her!" 
And  the  acacia  brought  a  lock  from  her  hair,  and  the  sea  carried  it  to 
Egypt,  and  dropped  it  in  the  place  of  the  fullers  of  Pharaoh's  linen. 
The  smell  of  the  lock  of  hair  entered  into  the  clothes  of  Pharaoh;  and 
they  were  wroth  with  the  fullers  of  Pharaoh,  saying,  "The  smell  of 
ointment  is  in  the  clothes  of  Pharaoh."  And  the  people  were  rebuked 
every  day,  they  knew  not  what  they  should  do.  And  the  chief  fuller  of 
Pharaoh  walked  by  the  bank,  and  his  heart  was  very  evil  within  him 
after  the  daily  quarrel  with  him.  He  stood  still,  he  stood  upon  tlft  sand 
opposite  to  the  lock  of  hair,  which  .was  in  the  water,  and  he  made  one 
enter  into  the  water  and  bring  it  to  him;  and  there  was  found  in  it  a 
smell,  exceeding  sweet.  He  took  it  to  Pharaoh;  and  they  brought  the 
scribes  and  the  wise  men,  and  they  said  unto  Pharaoh:  "This  lofk  of 
hair  belongs  to  a  daughter  of  Ra  Harakhti:  the  essence  of  every  god  is 
in  her,  and  it  is  a  tribute  to  thee  from  another  land.  Let  messengers 
go  to  every  strange  land  to  seek  her:  and  as  for  the  messenger  who  shall 
go  to  the  valley  of  the  acacia,  let  many  men  go  with  him  to  bring  her." 
,Then  said  his  Majesty,  "Excellent  exceedingly  is  what  has  been  said  to 
us";  and  they  sent  them.  And  many  days  after  these  things  the  people 
who  were  sent  to  strange  lands  came  to  give  report  unto  the  King:  but 
there  came  not  those  who  went  to  the  valley  of  the  acacia,  for  Bata  had 
slain  them,  but  let  one  of  them  return  to  give  a  report  to  the  King. 
His  Majesty  sent  many  men  and  soldiers,  as  well  as  horsemen,  to  bring 
her  back.  And  there  was  a  woman  among  them,  and  to  her  had  been 
given  in  her  hand  beautiful  ornaments  of  a  woman.  And  the  girl  came 
back  with  her,  and  they  rejoiced  over  her  in  the  whole  land. 

And  his  Majesty  loved  her  exceedingly,  and  raised  her  to  high  estate; 
and  he  spake  unto  her  that  she  should  tell  him  concerning  her  husband. 
And  she  said,  "Let  the  acacia  be  cut  down,  and  let  one  chop  it  up."  And 
they  sent  men  and  soldiers  with  their  weapons  to  cut  down  the  acacia; 
and  they  came  to  the  acacia,  and  they  cut  the  flower  upon  which  was 
the  soul  of  Bata,  and  he  fell  dead  suddenly. 

And  when  the  next  day  came,  and  the  earth  was  lightened,  the  acacia 
was  cut  down.  And  Anpu,  the  elder  brother  of  Bata,  entered  his  house, 
and  washed  his  hands;  and  one  gave  him  a  cup  of  beer,  and  it  became 


ANCIENT  EGYPT—ANONYMOUS  9 

troubled;  and  one  gave  him  another  of  wine,  and  the  smell  of  it  was 
evil.  Then  he  took  his  staff,  and  his  sandals,  and  likewise  his  clothes, 
^ith  his  weapons  of  war;  and  he  betook  himself  forth  to  the  valley  of 
the  acacia.  He  entered  the  tower  of  his  younger  brother,  and  he  found 
him  lying  upon  his  mat;  he  was  dead.  And  he  wept  when  he  saw  his 
younger  brother  verily  lying  dead.  And  he  went  out  to  seek  the  soul  of 
his  younger  brother  under  the  acacia  tree,  under  which  his  younger 
brother  lay  in  the  evening.  He  spent  three  years  in  seeking  for  it,  but 
found  it  not.  And  when  he  began  the  fourth  year,  he  desired  in  his 
heart  to  return  into  Egypt;  he  said,  "I  will  go  to-morrow  morn."  Thus 
spake  he  in  his  heart. 

Now  when  the  land  lightened,  and  the  next  day  appeared,  he  was 
walking  under  the  acacia;  he  was  spending  his  time  in  seeking  it.  And 
he  returned  in  the  evening,  and  labored  at  seeking  it  again.  He  found 
a  seed.  He  returned  with  it.  Behold  this  was  the  soul  of  his  younger 
brother.  He  brought  a  cup  of  cold  water,  and  he  cast  the  seed  into  it: 
and  he  sat  down,  as  he  was  wont.  Now  when  the  night  came  his  soul 
sucked?up  the  water;  Bata  shuddered  in  all  his  limbs,  and  he  looked  on 
his  elder  brother;  his  soul  was  in  the  cup.  Then  Anpu  took  the  cup  of 
cold  water,  in  which  the  soul  of  his  younger  brother  was;  Bata  drank 
it,  his  soul  stood  again  in  its  place,  and  he  became  as  he  had  been.  They 
embraced  each  other,  and  they  conversed  together. 

And  Bata  said  to  his  elder  brother:  "Behold  I  am  to  become  as  a 
great  bull,  which  bears  every  good  mark;  no  one  knoweth  its  history, 
and  thou  must  sit  upon  my  back.  When  the  sun  arises  I  shall  be  in  the 
place  where  my  wife  is,  that  I  may  return  answer  to  her 5  and  thou 
must  take  me  to  the  place  where  the  King  is.  For  all  good  things  shall 
be  done  for  thee;  for  one  shall  lade  thee  with  silver  and  gold,  be- 
cause thou  bringest  me  to  Pharaoh,  for  I  become  a  great  marvel,  and 
they  shall  rejoice  for  me  in  all  the  land.  And  thou  shalt  go  to  thy 
village." 

And  when  the  land  was  lightened,  and  the  next  day  appeared,  Bata 
became  in  the  form  which  he  had  told  to  his  elder  brother.  And  Anpu 
sat  upon  his  back  until  the  dawn.  He  came  to  the  place  where  the  King 
was,  and  they  made  his  Majesty  to  know  of  him;  he  saw  him,  and  he 
was  exceeding  joyful  with  him.  He  made  for  him  great  offerings, 
saying,  "This  is  a  great  wonder  which  has  come  to  pass.*1  There  were 
rejoicings  over  him  in  the  whole  land.  They  presented  unto  him  silver 
and  gold  for  his  elder  brother,  who  went  and  stayed  in  his  village.  They 
gave  to  the  bull  many  men  and  many  things,  and  Pharaoh  loved  him 
exceedingly  above  all  that  is  in  this  land. 

And  many  days  after  these  things,  the  bull  entered  the  purified  place; 
he  stood  in  the  place  where  the  princess  was;  he  began  to  speak  with 
her,  saying,  "Behold,  I  am  alive  indeed."  And  she  said  to  him,  "And, 


XO  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

pray,  who  art  thou?"  He  said  to  her,  "I  am  Bata.  I  perceived  when 
thou  causedst  that  they  should  destroy  the  acacia  of  Pharaoh,  which  was 
my  abode,  that  I  might  not  be  suffered  to  live.  Behold,  I  am  alive 
indeed,  I  am  as  an  ox."  Then  the  princess  feared  exceedingly  for  the* 
words  that  her  husband  had  spoken  to  her.  And  he  went  out  from  the 
purified  place. 

And  his  Majesty  was  sitting,  making  a  good  day  with  her:  she  was 
at  the  table  of  his  Majesty,  and  the  King  was  exceeding  pleased  with 
her.  And  she  said  to  his  Majesty,  "Swear  to  me  by  God,  saying,  'What 
thou  shalt  say,  I  will  obey  it  for  thy  sake.' "  He  hearkened  unto  all  that 
she  said,  even  this.  *Let  me  eat  of  the  liver  of  the -ox,  because  he  is  fit 
for  naught."  Thus  spake  she  to  him.  And  the  King  was  exceeding  sad 
at  her  words,  the  heart  of  Pharaoh  grieved  him  greatly.  And  after  the 
land  was  lightened,  and  the  next  day  appeared,  they  proclaimed  a  great 
feast  with  offerings  to  the  ox.  And  the  King  sent  one  of  the  chief 
butchers  of  his  Majesty,  to  cause  the  ox  to  be  sacrificed.  And  when  he 
was  sacrificed,  as  he  was  upon  the  shoulders  of  the  people,  he  shook  his 
neck,  and  he  threw  two  drops  of  blood  over  against  the  two  doars  of 
his  Majesty.  The  one  fell  upon  the  one  side,  on  the  great  door  of 
Pharaoh,  and  the  other  upon  the  other  door.  They  grew  as  two  great 
Persea  trees,  and  each  of  them  was  excellent. 

And  one  went  to  tell  unto  his  Majesty,  "Two  great  Persea  trees  have 
grown,  as  a  great  marvel  of  his  Majesty,  in  the  night  by  the  side  8f  the 
great  gate  of  his  Majesty."  And  there  was  rejoicing  for  them  in  all  the 
land,  and  there  were  offerings  made  to  them. 

And  when  the  days  were  multiplied  after  these  things,  his  Majesty 
Was  adorned  with  the  blue  crown,  with  garlands  of  flowers  on  his  neck, 
and  he  was  upon  the  chariot  of  pale  gold,  and  he  went  out  from  the 
palace  to  behold  the  Persea  trees:  the  princess  also  was  going  out  with 
horses  behind  his  Majesty.  And  his  Majesty  sat  beneath  one  of  the  Persea 
trees,  and  it  spake  thus  with  his  wife:  "Oh,  thou  deceitful  one,  I  am 
Bata,  I  am  alive,  though  I  have  been  evilly  entreated.  I  knew  who  caused 
the  acacia  to  be  cut  down  by  Pharaoh  at  my  dwelling.  I  then  became  an 
ox,  and  thou  causedst  that  I  should  be  killed." 

And  mai^y  days  after  these  things  the  princess  stood  at  the  table  of 
Pharaoh,  and  the  King  was  pleased  with  hen  And  she  said  to  his  Maj- 
esty, "Swear  to  me  by  God,  saying,  'That  which  the  princess  shall  say 
to  me  I  will  obey  it  for  her.' "  And  he  hearkened  unto  all  she  said. 
And  he  commanded,  "Let  these  two  Persea  trees  be  cut  down,  and  let 
them  be  made  into  goodly  planks."  And  he  hearkened  unto  all  she  said. 
And  after  this  his  Majesty  sent  skilful  craftsmen,  and  they  cut  down 
the 'Persea  trees  of  Pharaoh;  and  the  princess,  the  royal  wife,  was  stand- 
ing looking  on,  and  they  did  all  that  was  in  her  heart  unto  the  trees. 
But  a  chip  flew  up,  and  it  entered  into  the  mouth  of  the  princess;  she 


ANCIENT  EGYPT— ANONYMOUS  11 

swallowed  it,  and  after  many  days  she  bore  a  son.  And  one  went  to  tell 
his  Majesty,  "There  is  born  to  thee  a  son."  And  they  brought  him,  and 
gave  to  him  a  nurse  and  servants;  and  there  were  rejoicings  in  the  whole 
land.  And  the  King  sat  making  a  merry  day,  as  they  were  about  the 
naming  of  him,  and  his  Majesty  loved  him  exceedingly  at  that  moment, 
and  the  King  raised  him  to  be  the  royal  son  of  Kush. 

Now  after  the  days  had  multiplied  after  these  things,  his  Majesty 
made  him  heir  of  all  the  land.  And  many  days  after  that,  when  he  had 
fulfilled  many  years  as  heir,  his  Majesty  flew  up  to  heaven.  And  the 
heir  said,  "Let  my  great  nobles  of  his  Majesty  be  brought  before  me, 
that  I  may  make  them  to  know  all  that  has  happened  to  me."  And  they 
brought  also  before  him  his  wife,  and  he  judged  with  her  before  him, 
and  they  agreed  with  him.  They  brought  to  him  his  elder  brother;  he 
made  him  hereditary  prince  in  all  his  land.  He  was  thirty  years  King  of 
Egypt,  and  he  died,  and  his  elder  brother  stood  in  his  place  on  the  day 
of  burial. 

Excellently  finished  In  feace,  for  the  ka  of  the  scribe  of  the  treasury 
Kagabuy  of  the  treasury  of  Pharaoh,  and  for  the  scribe  Hora,  and  the 
scribe  Meremapt.  Written  by  the  scribe  Anena>  the  owner  of  this  roll. 
Re  who  speaks  against  this  roll,  may  Tahuti  smite  him. 


SETNA  AND  THE  MAGIC  BOOK 

(        (Anonymous:  about  1400  B.C.) 

\ 

THE  manuscript  of  this  story  was  found  during  the  Nineteenth 
Century  in  the  tomb  of  a  Coptic  monk.  Nothing  is  known  of  the 
author,  but  it  is  assumed  that  he  lived  not  long  after  the  time 
of  the  probable  origin  of  the  Egyptian  short  story.  Setna  and  the 
Magic  Book  is  one  of  those  wonder  tales  that  have  from  time 
immemorial  evoked  the  admiration  of  the  world,  and  particularly 
of  the  Orientals.  Whether  or  not  the  Egyptians  actually  believed 
all  they  were  told  in  a  fairy  tale  is  an  idle  conjecture:  but  it  seems 
probable  that  the  strange  happenings  described  in  this  story  were 
accepted  by  many.  Even  the  present  age  of  science  has  not  entirely 
banished  a  belief  in  magic:  some  of  the  finest  of  modern  tales  are 
based  upon  an  ineradicable  belief  in  the  supernatural. 

The  translation  here  used  is  that  by  William  Flinders  Petrie  in 
Egyptian  TV*;,  Vol.  2,  published  in  1895  by  Methuen  and  Co., 
by  whose  permission  it  is  here  reprinted.  The  original  manuscript 
is  a  part  of  the  so-called  Doulaq  Papyrus.  There  is  no  title  to  the 
original  story,  the  title  here  used  being  that  given  it  by  the 
transcriber* 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 


SETNA  AND  THE  MAGIC  BOOK 

HE  mighty  King  User.maat.ra  (Rameses  the  Great)  had  a  son  named 
JL  Setna  Kha.em.uast  who  was  a  great  scribe,  and  very  learned  in  all 
the  ancient  writings.  And  he  heard  that  the  magic  book  of  Thoth,  by 
which  a  man  may  enchant  heaven  and  earth,  and  know  the  language  of 
all  birds  and  beasts,  was  buried  in  the  cemetery  of  Memphis.  And  he 
went  to  search  for  it  with  his  brother  An.he.hor.eru;  and  when  they 
found  the  tomb  of  the  King's  son,  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  son  of  the  King  of 
Upper  and  Lower  Egypt,  Mer.neb.ptah,  Setna  opened  it  and  went  in. 

Now  in  the  tomb  was  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  and  with  him  was  the  ka  of 
his  wife  Ahura;  for  though  she  was  buried  at  Koptos,  her  ka  dwelt  at 
Memphis  with  her  husband,  whom  she  loved.  And  Setna  saw  them  seated 
before  their  offerings,  and  the  book  lay  between  them.  And  Na.nefer.- 
ka.ptah said  to  Setna,  "Who  are  you  that  break  into  my  tomb  in  this 
way?"  He  said,  "I  am  Setna,  son  of  the  great  King  User.maat.ra,  living 
forever,  and  I  come  for  that  book  which  I  see  between  you."  Ani  Na.- 
nefer.ka.ptah said,  "It  cannot  be  given  to  you."  Then  said  Setna,  "But 
I  will  carry  it  away  by  force." 

Then  Ahura  said  to  Setna,  "Do  not  take  this  book;  for  it  will  bring 
trouble  on  you,  as  it  has  upon  us.  Listen  to  what  we  have  suffered  for  it." 


AHURA'S  TALE 


"We  were  the  two  children  of  the  King  Mer.neb.ptah,  and  he  loved 
us  very  much,  for  he  had  no  others;  and  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  was  in  his 
palace  as  heir  over  all  the  land.  And  when  we  were  grown,  the  King 
said  to  the  Queen,  'I  will  marry  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  to  the  daughter  of  a 
general,  and  Ahura  to  the  son  of  another  general.'  And  the  Queen  said, 
'No;  he  is  the  heir,  let  him  marry  his  sister,  like  the  heir  of  a  king; 
none  other  is  fit  for  him.'  And  the  King  said,  'That  is  not  fair;  they 
had  better  be  married  to  the  children  of  the  general/ 

"And  the  Queen  said,  'It  is  you  who  are  not  dealing  rightly  with 
me.'  And  the  King  answered,  'If  I  have  no  more  than  these  two  chil- 
dren, is  it  right  that  they  should  marry  one  another?  I  will  marry 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah  to  the  daughter  of  an  officer,  and  Ahura  to  the  son  of 
another  officer.  It  has  often  been  done  so  in  our  family.'  C 

"And  at  a  time  when  there  was  a  great  feast  before  the  King,  they 
came  to  fetch  me  to  the  feast.  And  I  was  very  troubled,  and  did  not 
behave  as  I  used  to  do.  And  the  King  said  to  me,  'Ahura,  have  you  sent 
someone  to  me  about  this  sorry  matter,  saying,  "Let  me  be  married  to 
my  elder  brother"?'  I  said  to  him,  'Well,  let  me  marry  the  son  of  an 
officer,  and  he  marry  the  daughter  of  another  officer,  as  it  often  hap* 


ANCIENT  EGYPT— ANONYMOUS  13 

pens  so  in  our  family.9  I  laughed,  and  the  King  laughed.  And  the  King 
told  the  steward  of  the  palace,  'Let  them  take  Ahura  to  the  house  of 
^Ia.nefer.ka.ptah  to-night,  and  all  kinds  of  good  things  witH  her.'  So 
they  brought  me  as  a  wife  to  the  house  of  Na.nef er.ka.ptah ;  and  the 
King  ordered  them  to  give  me  presents  of  silver  and  gold,  and  things 
from  the  palace.  ' 

"And  Na.nef er.ka.ptah  passed  a  happy  time  with  me,  and  received  all 
the  presents  from  the  palace;  and  we  loved  one  another.  And  when  I 
expected  a  child,  they  told  the  King,  and  he  was  most  heartily  glad;  and 
he  sent  me  many  things,  and  a  present  of  the  best  silver  and  gold  and 
linen.  And  when  the  time  came,  I  bore  this  little  child  that  is  before 
you.  And  they  gave  him  the  name  of  Mer-ab,  and  registered  him  in  the 
book  of  the  'House  of  life.' 

"And  when  my  brother  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  went  to  the  cemetery  of 
Memphis,  he  did  nothing  on  earth  but  read  the  writings  that  are  in  the 
catacombs  of  the  kings,  and  the  tablets  of  the  'House  of  life,'  and  the 
inscriptions  that  are  seen  on  the  monuments,  and  he  worked  hard  on  the 
writes.  And  there  was  a  priest  there  called  Nesi-ptah;  and  as  Na.nefer.- 
ka.ptah went  into  a  temple  to  pray,  it  happened  that  he  went  behind  this 
priest,  and  was  reading  the  inscriptions  that  were  on  the  chapels  of  the 
gods.  And  the  priest  mocked  him  and  laughed.  So  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  said 
to  him,  'Why  are  you  laughing  at  me?*  And  he  replied,  *I  was  not 
laughing  at  you,  or  if  I  happened  to  do  so,  it  was  at  your  reading  writ- 
ings that  are  worthless.  If  you  wish  so  much  to  read  writings,  come  to 
me,  and  I  will  bring  you  to  the  place  where  the  book  is  which  Thoth 
himself  wrote  with  his  own  hand,  and  which  will  bring  you  to  the  gods. 
When  you  read  but  two  pages  in  this  you  will  enchant  the  heaven,  the 
earth,  the  abyss,  the  mountains,  and  the  sea;  you  shall  know  what  the 
birds  of  the  sky  and  the  crawling  things  are  saying;  you  shall  see  the 
fishes  of  the  deep,  for  a  divine  power  is  there  to  bring  them  up  but  of 
the  depth.  And  when  you  read  the  second  page,  if  you  are  in  the  world 
of  ghosts,  you  will  become  again  in  the  shape  you  were  in  on  earth. 
You  will  see  the  sun  shining  in  the  sky,  with  all  the  gods,  and  the  full 
moon.'  •* 

"And  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  said:  cBy  the  life  of  the  King!  Tell  me  of 
anything  you  want  done,  and  I'll  do  it  for  you,  if  you  will  only  send 
me  where  this  book  is.'  And  the  priest  answered  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  'If 
you  want  to  go  to  the  place  where  the  book  is,  you  must  give  me  100 
pieces  of  silver  for  my  funeral,  and  provide  that  they  shall  bury  me  as 
a  rich  priest.'  So  Na,nefer»ka»ptah  called  his  lad  and  told  him  to  give 
the  priest  1 00  pieces  of  silver;  and  he  made  them  do  as  he  wished,  even 
eveiything  that  he  asked  for*  Then  the  priest  .said  to  Na.nefer.ka.ptah: 
'This  book  is  in  the  middle  of  the  river  at  Koptos,  in  an  iron  box;  in 
the  iron  box  is  a  bronze  box;  in  the  bronze  box  .is  a  sycamore  box;  in 


I4  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

the  sycamore  box  is  an  ivory  and  ebony  box;  in  the  ivory  and  ebony  box 
is  a  silver  box;  in  the  silver  box  is  a  golden  box,  and  in  that  is  the  book. 
It  is  twisted  all  round  with  snakes  and  scorpions  and  all  the  other, 
crawling  things  around  the  box  in  which  the  book  is;  and  there  is  a 
deathless  snake  by  the  box.'  And  when  the  priest  told  Na.nefer.ka.ptah, 
he  did  not  know  where  on  earth  he  was,  he  was  so  much  delighted. 

"And  when  he  came  from  the  temple  he  told  me  all  that  had  hap- 
pened to  him.  And  he  said:  'I  shall  go  to  Koptos,  for  I  must  fetch  this 
book;  I  will  not  stay  any  longer  in  the  north.'  And  I  said,  'Let  me  dis- 
suade you,  for  you  prepare  sorrow  and  you  will  bring  me  into  trouble 
in  the  Thebaid.'  And  I  laid  my  hand  on  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  to  keep  him 
from  going  to  Koptos,  but  he  would  not  listen  to  me;  and  he  went  to 
the  King,  and  told  the  King  all  that  the  priest  had  said.  The  King  asked 
him,  cWhat  is  it  that  you  want?'  and  he  replied,  'Let  them  give  me 
the  royal  boat  with  its  belongings,  for  I  will  go  to  the  south  with  Ahura 
and  her  little  boy  Mer-ab,  and  fetch  this  book  without  delay.'  So  they 
gave  him  the  royal  boat  with  its  belongings,  and  we  went  with  him  to 
the  haven,  and  sailed  from  there  up  to  Koptos.  * 

"Then  the  priests  of  Isis  of  Koptos,  and  the  high-priest  of  Isis,  came 
down  to  us  without  waiting,  to  meet  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  and  their  wives 
also  came  to  me.  We  went  into  the  temple  of  Isis  and  Harpokrates;  and 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah  brought  an  ox,  a  goose,  and  some  wine,  and  made  a 
burnt-offering  and  a  drink-offering  before  Isis  of  Koptos  and  Harpo- 
krates. They  brought  us  to  a  very  fine  house,  with  all  good  things;  and 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah  spent  four  days  there  and  feasted  with  the  priests  of 
Isis  of  Koptos,  and  the  wives  of  the  priests  of  Isis  also  made  holiday 
with  me.  '  '" 

"And  the  morning  of  the  fifth  day  came;  and  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  called 
a  priest  to  him,  and  made  a  magic  cabin  that  was  full  of  men  and  tackle. 
He  put  the  spell  upon  it,  and  put  life  in  it,  and  gave  them  breath,  and 
sank  it  in  the  water.  He  filled  the  royal  boat  with  sand,  and  took  leave 
of  me,  and  sailed  from  the  haven:  and  I  sat  by  the  river  at  Koptos  that 

I  might  see  what  would  become  of  him.  And  he  said,  'Workmen,  work 
for  me,  even  at  the  place  where  the  book  is.*  And  they  toiled  by  night 
and  by  day;  and  when  they  had  reached  it  in  three  days,  he  threw  the 
sand  out,  and  made  a  shoal  in  the  river.  And  then  he  found  on  it 
entwined  serpents  and  scorpions  and  all  kinds  of  crawling  things  around 
the  box  in  which  the  book  was;  and  by  it  he  found  a  deathless  snake 
around  the  box.  And  he  laid  the  spell  upon  the  entwined  serpents  and 
scorpions  and  all  kinds  of  crawling  things  which  were  around  the  box, 
that  they  should  not  come  out.  And  he  went  to  the  deathless  snake,  and 
fought  with  him,  and  killed  him;  but  he  came  to  life  again,  and  took 

II  new;  form.  He  then  fought  again  with  him  a  second  time;  but  he  came 


ANCIENT  EGYPT— ANONYMOUS  *S 

to  life  again,  and  took  a  third  form.  He  then  cut  him  in  two  parts,  and/ 
put  sand  between  the  parts,  that  he  should  not  appear  again.     ' 

"Na.nefer.ka.ptah  then  went  to  the  place  where  he  found  the  box. 
He  uncovered  a  box  of  iron,  and  opened  it;  he  found  then  a  box  of 
bronze,  and  opened  that;  then  he  found  a  box  of  sycamore  wood,  and 
opened  that;  again,  he  found  a  box  of  ivory  and  ebony,  and  opened 
that;  yet,  he  found  a  box  of  silver,  and  opened  that;  and  then  he  found 
a  box  of  gold;  he  opened  that,  and  found  the  book  in  it.  He  took  the 
book  from  the  golden  box,  and  read  a  page  of  spells  from  it.  He  en- 
chanted the  heaven  and  the  earth,  the  abyss,  the  mountains,  and  the  sea; 
he  knew  what  the  birds  of  the  sky,  the  fish  of  the  deep,  and  the  beasts 
of  the  hills  all  said.  He  read  another  page  of  the  spells,  and  saw  the 
sun  shining  in  the  sky,  with  all  the  gods,  the  full  moon,  and  the  stars 
in  their  shapes;  he  saw  the  fishes  of  the  deep,  for  a  divine  power  was 
present  that  brought  them  up  from  the  .water.  He  then  read  the  spell 
upon  the  workmen  that  he  had  made,  and  taken  from  the  haven,  and 
said  to  them,  Work  for  me,  back  to  the  place  from  which  I  came.1 
And  tlyy  toiled  night  and  day,  and  so  he  came  back  to  the  place  where 
I  sat  by  the  river  of  Koptos;  I  had  not  drunk  nor  eaten  anything,  and 
had  done  nothing  on  earth,  but  sat  like  one  who  is  gone  to  the  grave. 

"I  then  told  Na.nef er.ka.ptah  that  I  wished  to  see  this  book,  for  which 
we  had  taken  so  much  trouble.  He  gave  the  book  into  my  hands;  and 
when  I  read  a  page  of  the  spells  in  it  I  also  enchanted  heaven  and  earth, 
the  abyss,  the  mountains,  and  the  sea.  I  also  knew  what  the  birds  of  the 
sky,  the  fishes  of  the  deep,  and  the  beasts  of  the  hills  all  said.  I  read 
another  page  of  the  spells,  and  I  saw  the  sun  shining  in  the  sky  with 
all  the  gods,  the  full  moon,  and  the  stars  in  their  shapes;  I  saw  the 
fishes  of  the  deep,  for  a  divine  power  .was  present  that  brought  them 
up  from  the  water.  As  I  could  not  write,  I  asked  Na.nefer.ka.ptah, 
who  was  a  good  writer,  and  a  very  learned  one;  he  called  for  a  new 
piece  of  papyrus,  and  wrote  on  it  all  that  was  in  the  book  before  him. 
He  dipped  it  in  beer,  and  washed  it  off  in  the  liquid;  for  he  knew  that 
if  it  were  washed  off,  and  he  drank  it,  he  would  know  all  that  there 
•Was  in  the  writing.  (  t 

"We  returned  back  to  Koptos  the  same  clay,  and  made  a  feast  before 
Isis  of  Koptos  and  Harpokrates.  We  then  went  to  the  haven  and  sailed, 
and  went  northward  of  Koptos.  And  as  we  went  on  Thoth  discovered 
all  that  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  had  done  with  the  book;  and  Thoth  hastened 
to  tell  Ra,  and  said,  'Now  know  that  my  book  and  my  revelation  are 
with  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  son  of  the  King  Mer.neb.ptah.  He  has  forced 
himself  into  my  place,  and  robbed  it,  and  seized  my  box  with  the  writ- 
ings, and  killed  my  guards  who  protected  it.*  And  Ra  replied  to  him, 
'He  is  before  you,  take  him  and  all  his  kin.'  He  sent  a  power  from 


16  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

heaven  with  the  command,  'Do  not  let  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  return  safe 
to  Memphis  with  all  his  kin.9  And  after  this  hour,  the  little  boy  Mer-ab, 
going  out  from  the  awning  of  the  royal  boat,  fell  into  the  river:  he 
called  on  Ra,  and  everybody  who  was  on  the  bank  raised  a  cry.  Na.- 
nefer.ka.ptah went  out  of  the  cabin,  and  read  the  spell  over  him;  he 
brought  his  body  up  because  a  divine  power  brought  him  to  the  sur* 
face.  He  read  another  spell  over  him,  and  made  him  tell  of  all  that 
happened  to  him,  and  of  what  Thoth  had  said  before  Ra. 

"We  turned  back  with  him  to  Koptos.  We  brought  him  to  the  Good 
House,  we  fetched  the  people  to  him,  and  made  one  embalm  him;  and 
we  buried  him  in  his  coffin  in  the  cemetery  of  Koptos  like  a  great  and 
noble  person. 

"And  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  my  brother,  said:  'Let  us  go  down,  let  us 
not  delay,  for  the  King  has  not  yet  heard  of  what  has  happened  to  him, 
and  his  heart  will  be  sad  about  it.'  So  we  went  to  the  haven,  we  sailed, 
and  did  not  stay  to  the  north  of  Koptos.  When  we  were  come  to  the 
place  where  the  little  boy  Mer-ab  had  fallen  into  the  water,  I  went  out 
from  the  awning  of  the  royal  boat,  and  I  fell  into  the  river.  Theji  called 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  and  he  came  out  from  the  cabin  of  the  royal  boat;  he 
read  a  spell  over  me,  and  brought  my  body  up,  because  a  divine  power 
brought  me  to  the  surface.  He  drew  me  out,  and  read  the  spell  over 
me,  and  made  me  tell  him  of  all  that  had  happened  to  me,  and  of  what 
Thoth  had  said  before  Ra.  Then  he  turned  back  with  me  to  Koptos,  he 
brought  me  to  the  Good  House,  he  fetched  the  people  to  me,  and  madq 
one  embalm  me,  as  great  and  noble  people  are  buried,  and  laid  me  in 
the  tomb  where  Mer-ab  my  young  child  was. 

"He  turned  to  the  haven,  and  sailed  down,  and  delayed  not  in  the 
north  of  Koptos.  When  he  was  come  to  the  place  where  we  fell  into 
the  river,  he  said  to  his  heart:  'Shall  I  not  better  turn  back  again  to 
Koptos,  that  I  may  lie  by  them?  For,  if  not,  when  I  go  down  to, 
Memphis,  and  the  King  asks  after  his  children,  what  shall  I  say  to  him?' 
Can  I  tell  him,  "I  have  taken  your  children  to  the  Thebaid,  and  killed', 
them,  while  I  remained  alive,  and  I  have  come  to  Memphis  still  alive"?9' 
Then  he  made  them  bring  him  a  linen  cloth  of  striped  byssus;  he  made* 
a  band,  and  bound  the  book  firmly,  and  tied  it  upon  him.  Na.nefer.ka.- 
ptah then  went  out  of  the  awning  of  the  royal  boat  and  fell  into  the 
river.  He  cried  on  Ra;  and  all  those  who  were  on^the  bank  made  an 
outcry,  saying:  'Great  woe!  Sad  .woe!  Is  he  lost,  that  good  scribe  and: 
able  man  that  has  no  equal?'  „ 

"The  royal  boat  went  on,  without  anyone  on  earth  knowing  where 
Na.nefenka.ptah  was.  It  went  on  to  Memphis,  and  they  told  all  this  to 
the  King.  Then  the  King  went  dbwn  to  the  royal  boat  in  mourning,  and 
all  the  soldiers  and  high-priests  erf  Ptah  were  in  mourning,  and  all  the 
officials  and  courtiers.  And  when  fee  .saw.  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  who  was  in- 


ANCIENT  EGYPT—ANONYMOUS  17 

the  inner  cabin  of  the  royal  boat — from  his  rank  of  high  scribe — he 
lifted  him  up.  And  they  saw  the  book  by  him;  and  the  King  said,  'Let 
one  hide  this  book  that  is  with  him.'  And  the  officers  of  the  King,  the 
priests  of  Ptah,  and  the  high-priest  of  Ptah,  said  to  the  King,  'Our 
Lord,  may  the  King  live  as  long  as  the  sun!  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  was  a 
good  scribe,  and  a  very  skilful  man/  And  the  King  had  him  laid  in  his 
Good  House  to  the  sixteenth  day,  and  then  had  him  wrapped  to  the 
thirty-fifth  day,  and  laid  him  out  to  the  seventieth  day,  and  then  had 
him  put  in  his  grave  in  his  resting-place. 

"I  have  noWvtold  you  the  sorrow  which  has  come  upon  us  because 
of  this  book  for  which  you  ask,  saying,  'Let  it  be  given  to  me/  You 
have  no  claim  to  it;  and,  indeed,  for  the  sake  of  it,  we  have  given  up 
our  life  on  earth." 

And  Setna  said  to  Ahura,  "Give  me  the  book  which  I  see  between 
you  and  Na.nefer.ka.ptah;  for  if  you  do  not  I  will  take  it  by  force." 
Then  Na,nefer4ka.ptah  rose  from  his  seat  and  said:  "Are  you  Setna,  to 
whom  my  wife  has  told  of  all  these  blows  of  fate,  which  you  have  not 
suffered?  Can  you  take  this  book  by  your  skill  as  a  good  scribe?  If, 
indeed,  you  can  play  games  with  me,  let  us  play  a  game,  then,  of  52 
points."  And  Setna  said,  "I  am  ready,"  and  the  board  and  its  pieces  were 
put  before  him.  And  Na.nefer.ka.ptnh  won  a  game  from  Setna;  and  he 
put  the  sjJell  upon  him,  and  defended  himself  with  the  game  board  that 
was  before  him,  and  sunk  him  into  the  ground  above  his  feet.  He  did  the 
same  at  the  second  game,  and  won  it  from  Setna,  and  sunk  him  into  the 
ground  to  his  waist.  He  did  the  same  at  the  third  game,  and  made  him 
sink  into  the  ground  up  to  his  ears.  Then  Setna  struck  Na.nefer.ka.ptah 
a  great  blow  with  his  hand.  And  Setna  called  his  brother  An.he.hor.eru 
and  said  to  him,  "Make  haste  and  go  up  upon  earth,  and  tell  the  King 
all  that  has  happened  to  me,  and  bring  me  the  talisman  of  my  father 
Ptah,  and  my  magic  books." 

And  he  hurried  up  upon  earth,  and  told  the  King  all  that  had  hap- 
pened to  Setna.  The  King  said,  "Bring  him  the  talisman  of  his  father 
Ptah,  and  his  magic  book."  And  An.he.hor.eru  hurried  down  into  the 
'tomb;  he  laid  the  talisman  on  Setna,  and  he  sprang  up  again  immedi- 
ately. And  then  Setna  reached  out  his  hand  for  the  book,  and  took  it. 
Then— as  Setna  went^out  from  the  tomb— there  went  a  Light  before 
him,  and  Darkness  behind  him.  And  Ahura  wept  at  him,  and  she  said: 
"Glory  to  the  King  of  Darkness!  Hail  to  the  King  of  Light!  all  power 
is  gone  from  the  tomb.'9  feut  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  said  to  Ahura:  "Do  not 
let  your  heart  be  sad;  I  will  make  hyn  bring  back  this  book,  with  a 
forked  stick  in  his  hand,  and  a  fire-pan  on  his  head."  And  Setna  went 
out  from  the  tomb,  and  it  closed  behind  him  as  it  was  before. 

Then  Setna  went  to  the  King,  and  told  him  everything  that  had  hap- 


i8  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

pened  to  him  with  the  book.  And  the  King  said  to  Setna,  "Take  back 
the  book  to  the  grave  of  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  like  a  prudent  man,  or  else 
he  will  make  you  bring  it  with  a  forked  stick  in  your  hand,  and  a  fire- 
pan on  your  head.''  But  Setna  would  not  listen  to  him;  and  when  Setna 
had  unrolled  the  book  he  did  nothing  on  earth  but  read  it  to  everybody. 

After  that  it  happened  one  day,  when  Setna  was  walking  near  the 
temple  of  Ptah,  he  saw  a  woman  of  such  beauty  that  another  could  not 
be  found  to  equal  her.  On  her  there  was  much  gold,  and  with  her  were 
fifty-two  servants.  From  the  time  that  Setna  beheld  her,  he  no  longer 
knew  the  part  of  the  world  he  lived  in.  He  called  his  page,  saying,  "Do 
not  delay  going  to  the  place  where  that  woman  is  and  finding  out  who 
she  is."  The  young  page  made  no  delay.  He  addressed  the  maidservant 
who  walked  behind  her,  and  questioned  her,  "What  person  is  that?" 
She  said  to  him,  "She  is  Tbubui,  daughter  of  the  prophet  of  Bastit,  who 
now  goes  to  make  her  prayer  before  Ptah."  When  the  young  man  had 
returned  to  Setna,  he  recounted  all  the  words  she  had  said  to  him  with- 
out exception.  Setna  said  to  the  young  man,  "Go  and,say  thus  to  the 
maidservant,  'Setna-Khamois,  son  of  the  Pharaoh  Usimares  it  is  who 
sends  me,  saying,  "I  will  give  thee  ten  pieces  of  gold  that  thou  mayest 
pass  an  hour  with  me.  If  there  is  necessity  to  have  recourse  to  violence 
he  will  do  it,  and  he  will  take  thee  to  a  hidden  place,  where  no  one  in 
the  world  will  find  thee."  *  When  the  young  man  had  returned  to  the 
place,  where  Tbubui  was,  he  addressed  the  maidservant,  and  Spake  with 
her,  but  she  exclaimed  against  his  words,  as  though  it  were  an  insult  to 
speak  them.  Tbubui  said  to  the  young  man,  "Cease  to  speak  to  that 
wretched  girl;  come  and  speak  to  pie."  The  young  man  approached  the 
place  where  Tbubui  was;  he  said  to  her,  "I  will  give  thee  ten  pieces  of 
gold  if  thou  wilt  pass  an  hour  with  Setna-Khamois,  the  son  of  Pharaoh 
Usimares.  If  there  is  necessity  to  have  recourse  to  violence,  he  will  do 
so,  and  will  take  thee  to  a  hidden  place  where  no  one  in  the  world  will 
find  thee."  Tbubui  said,  "Go,  say  to  Setna,  'I  am  a  hierodule,  I  am  no 
mean  person;  if  thou  dost  desire  to  have  thy  pleasure  of  me,  thou  shalt 
come  to  Bubastis  into  my  house.  All  will  be  ready  there,  and  thou  shalt 
have  thy  pleasure  of  me,  and  no  one  in  the  world  shall  know  it,  and 
I  shall  not  have  acted  like  a  woman  of  the  streets."  When  the  page  had* 
returned  to  Setna,  he  repeated  to  him  all  the  words  that  she  had  said 
without  exception,  and  he  said,  "T>o,  I  am  satisfied."  But  all  who  were 
with  Setna  began  to  curse.  ^ 

Setna  caused  a  boat  to  be  fetched,  he  embarked,  and  delayed  not  to 
arrive  at  Bubastis.  He  went  to  the  west  of  the  town,  until  he  came  to  a 
house  .that  was  very  high;  it  had^a  wall  all  round  it,  it  had  a  garden  on 
the  north  side,  there  was  a  flight  of  steps  in  front  of  it  Setna  inquired 
saying,  "Whose  is  this  house?"  They  said  to  him,  "It  is  the  house  of 
Tbubui,"  Setna  entered  the  grounds,  and  he  marveled  at  the  paviibn 


ANCIENT  EGYPT— ANONYMOUS  19 

situated  in  the  garden  while  they  told  Tbubui;  she  came  down,  she  took 
the  hand  of  Setna,  and  she  said  to  him,  "By  my  life!  the  journey  to 
the  house  of  the  priest  of  Bastit,  lady  of  Ankhutaui,  at  which  thou  art 
arrived,  is  very  pleasant  to  me.  Come  up  with  me."  Setna  went  tip  by 
the  stairway  of  the  house  with  Tbubui.  He  found  the  upper  story  of  the 
house  sanded  and  powdered  with  sand  and  powder  of  real  lapis  lazuli 
and  real  turquoise.  There  were  several  beds  there,  spread  with  stuffs  of 
royal  linen,  and  also  many  cups  of  gold  on  a  stand.  They  filled  a  golden 
cup  with  wine  and  placed  it  in  the  hand  of  Setna  and  Tbubui  said  to 
him,  "Will  it  please  thee  to  rest  thyself?"  He  said  to  her,  "That  is  not 
what  I  wish  to  do."  They  put  scented  wood  on  the  fire,  they  brought 
perfumes  of  the  kind  that  are  supplied  to  Pharaoh,  and  Setna  made  a 
happy  day  with  Tbubui.  "Let  us  accomplish  that  for  which  we  have 
come  here."  She  said  to  him,  "Thou  shalt  arrive  at  thy  house,  that  where 
thou  art.  But  for  me,  I  am  a  hierodule,  I  am  no  mean  person.  If  thou 
desirest  to  have  thy  pleasure  of  me,  thou  shalt  make  me  a  contract  of 
sustenance,  and  a  contract  of  money  on  all  the  things  and  all  the  goods 
that  are^thine."  He  said  to  her,  "Let  the  scribe  of  the  school  be  brought." 
He  was  brought  immediately,  and  Setna  caused  to  be  made  in  favor  of 
Tbubui  a  contract  for  maintenance,  and  he  made  her  in  writing  a  dowry 
of  all  the  things,  all  the  goods  that  were  his.  An  hour  passed,  one  came 
to  say  this  to  Setna,  "Thy  children  are  below."  He  said,  "Let  them 
be  brought  up."  Tbubui  arose;  she  put  on  a  robe  of  fine  linen  and  Setna 
beheld  all  her  limbs  through  it,  and  his  desire  increased  yet  more  than 
before.  Setna  said  to  Tbubui,  "Let  us  accomplish  now  that  for  which  I 
came."  She  said  to  him,  "Thou  shalt  arrive  at  thy  house,  that  where 
thou  art.  But  for  me,  I  am  a  hierodule;  I  am  no  mean  person.  If  thou 
desirest  to  have  thy  pleasure  of  me,  thou  wilt  cause  thy  children  to  sub- 
scribe to  my  writing  that  they  may  not  seek  a  quarrel  with  my  children 
on  the  subject  of  thy  possessions."  Setna  had  his  children  fetched  and 
made  them  subscribe  to  the  writing.  Setna  said  to  Tbubui,  "Let  me  now 
accomplish  that  for  which  I  came."  She  said  to  him,  "Thou  shalt  arrive 
at  thy  house,  that  where  thou  art.  But  for  me,  I  am  a  hierodule;  I  am 
no  mean  person.  If  thou  dost  desire  to  have  thy  pleasure  of  me,  thou 
shalt  cause  thy  children  to  be  slain,  so  that  they  may  not  seek  a  quarrel 
with  my  children,  on  account  of  thy  possessions."  Setna  said,  "Let  the 
crime  be  committed  on  them  of  which  the  desire  has  entered  thy  heart." 
She  caused  the  children  of  Setna  to  be  slain  before  him,  she  had  them 
thrown  out  below  the,  window,  to  the  dogs  and  cats,  and  they  ate  their 
flesh,  and  he  heard  them  while  he  was  drinking  with  Tbubui.  Setna  said 
to  Tbubui,  "Let  us  accomplish  that  for  which  we  have  come  here,  for 
all  that  thou  hast  said  before  me  has  been  done  for  thee."  She  said  to 
him,  "Come  into  this  chamber."  Setna  entered  the  chamber;  he  lay  down 
on  a  .bed  of  ivory  and  ebony,  in  order  that  his  love  might  be  rewarded, 


20  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

and  Tbubui  lay  down  by  the  side  of  Setna.  He  stretched  out  his  hand  to 
touch  her;  she  opened  her  mouth  widely  and  uttered  a  loud  cry. 

When  Setna  came  to  himself  he  was  in  a  place  of  a  furnace  without 
any  clothing  on  his  back.  After  an  hour  Setna  perceived  a  very  big  ftian 
standing  on  a  platform,  with  quite  a  number  of  attendants  beneath  his 
feet,  for  he  had  the  semblance  of  a  Pharaoh.  Setna  was  about  to  raise 
himself  but  he  could  not  arise  for  shame,  for  he  had  no  clothing  on  his 
back.  This  Pharaoh  said,  "Setna,  what  is  the  state  in  which  you  are?" 
He  said,  "It  is  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  who  has  had  all  this  done  to  me." 
This  Pharaoh  said,  "Go  to  Memphis;  thy  children,  lo!  they  wish  for 
thee.  Lo!  they  are  standing  before  Pharaoh."  Setna  spake  before  this 
Pharaoh,  "My  great  lord  the  king — mayest  thou  have  the  duration  of 
Ra— - how  can  I  arrive  at  Memphis,  for  I  have  no  raiment  in  the  world 
on  my  back?"  This  Pharaoh  called  a  page  who  was  standing  near  him 
and  commanded  him  to  give  a  garment  to  Setna.  This  Pharaoh  said, 
"Setna,  go  to  Memphis.  Thy  children,  behold  they  live,  behold  they  are 
Standing  before  the  king." 

So  Setna  went  to  Memphis,  and  embraced  his  children  for  tfeat  they 
were  alive.  And  the  King  said  to  him,  "Were  you  not  drunk  to  do 
so?"  Then  Setna  told  all  things  that  had  happened  with  Tbubui  and 
Na.nefer.ka.ptah.  And  the  King  said,  "Setna,  I  have  already  lifted  up 
my  hand  against  you  before,  and  said,  cHe  will  kill  you  if  you  do  not 
take  back  the  book  to  the  place  you  took  it  from.'  But  you  Have  never 
listened  to  me  till  this  hour.  Now,  then,  take  the  book  to  Na.nefer.ka.- 
ptah, with  a  forked  stick  in  your  hand,  and  a  fire-pan  on  your  head." 

So  Setna  went  out  from  before  the  King,  with  a  forked  stick  in  his 
hand,  and  a  fire-pan  on  his  head.  He  went  down  to  the  tomb  in  which 
was  Na.nefer.ka.ptah.  And  Ahura  said  to  him,  "It  is  Ptah,  the  great 
god,  that  has  brought  you  back  safe."  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  laughed,  and  he 
said,  "This  is  the  business  that  I  told  you  before."  And  when  Setna 
had  praised  Na.nefer.ka.ptah,  he  found  it  as  the  proverb  says,  "The  sun 
was  in  the  whole  tomb."  And  Ahura  and  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  besought 
Setna  greatly.  And  Setna  said,  "Na.nef er.ka.ptah,  is  it  aught  disgraceful 
(that  you  lay  on  me  to  do)?"  And  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  said,  "Setna,  you 
know  this,  that  Ahura  and  Mer-ab,  her  child,  behold!  they  are  in  Koptosj 
bring  them  here  into  this  tomb,  by  the  skill  of  a  good  scribe.  Let  it  be 
impressed  upon  you  to  take  pains,  and  to  go  to  Koptos  to  bring  them 
here."  Setna  then  went  out  from  the  tomb  to  the  King,  and  told  the 
King  all  that  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  had  told  him. 

The  King  said,  "Setna,  go  to  Koptos  and  bring  back  Ahura  and 
Mer-atb."  He  answered  the  King,  "Let  one  give  me  the  royal  boat  and 
its  belongings."  And  they  gave  him  the  royal  boat  and  its  belongings, 
and  he  left  the  haven,  and  sailed  without  stopping  till  he  came  to  Koptos. 

And  they  made  this  known  to  the  priests  of  Isis  at  Koptos  and  to  the 


ANCIENT  EGYPT— ANONYMOUS  21 

high-priest  of  Isis;  and  behold  they  came  down  to  him,  and  gave  him 
their  hand  to  the  shore.  He  went  up  with  them  and  entered  into  the 
temple  of  Isis  of  Koptos  and  of  Harpokrates.  He  ordered  one  to  offer 
foY  him  an  ox,  a  goose,  and  some  wine,  and  he  made  a  burnt-offering 
and  a  drink-offering  before  Isis  of  Koptos  and  Harpokrates.  He  went 
to  the  cemetery  of  Koptos  with  the  priests  of  Isis  and  the  high-priest 
of  Isis.  They  dug  about  for  three  days  and  three  nights,  for  they  searched 
even  in  all  the  catacombs  which  were  in  the  cemetery  of  Koptos;  they 
turned  over  the  steles  of  the  scribes  of  the  "double  house  of  life,"  and 
read  the  inscriptions  that  they  found  on  them.  But  they  could  not  find 
the  resting-place  of  Ahura  and  Mer-ab. 

Now  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  perceived  that  they  could  not  'find  the  resting- 
place  of  Ahura  and  her  child  Mer-ab.  So  he  raised  himself  up  as  a 
venerable,  very  old  ancient,  and  came  before  Setna.  And  Setna  saw  him, 
and  Setna  said  to  the  ancient:  "You  look  like  a  very  old  man;  do  you 
know  where  is  the  resting-place  of  Ahura  and  her  child  Mer-ab  ?"  The 
ancient  said  to  Setna:  "It  was  told  by  the  father  of  the  father  of  my 
f ather^to  the  father  of  my  father,  and  the  father  of  my  father  has  told 
it  to  my  father;  the  resting-place  of  Ahura  and  of  her  child  Mer-ab 
is  in  a  mound  south  of  the  town  of  Pehemato."  And  Setna  said  to 
the  ancient,  "Perhaps  we  may  do  damage  to  Pehemato,  and  you  are 
ready  to  lead  one  to  the  town  for  the  sake  of  that."  The  ancient  replied 
to  Setnaf  "If  one  listens  to  me,  shall  he  therefore  destroy  the  town  of 
Pehemato!  If  they  do  not  find  Ahura  and  her  child  Mer-ab  under  the 
south  corner  of  their  town  may  I  be  disgraced."  They  attended  to  the 
ancient,  and  found  the  resting-place  of  Ahura  and  her  child  Mer-ab 
under  the  south  corner  of  the  town  of  Pehemato.  Setna  laid  them  in  the 
royal  boat  to  bring  them  as  honored  persons,  and  restored  the  town  of 
Pehemato  as  it  originally  was.  And  Na.nefer.ka.ptah  made  Setna  to 
know  that  it  was  he  who  had  come  to  Koptos,  to  enable  them  to  find  out 
where  the  resting-place  was  of  Ahura  and  her  child  Mer-ab. 

So  Setna  left  the  haven  in  the  royal  boat,  and  sailed  without  stopping, 
and  reached  Memphis  with  all  the  soldiers  who  were  with  him.  And 
when  they  told  the  King  he  came  down  to  the  royal  boat.  He  took  them 
as  honored  persons  escorted  to  the  catacombs,  in  which  Na.nefer.ka.ptah 
.was,  and  smoothed  down  the  ground  over  them. 

This  is  the  completed  writing  of  the  tale  of  Setna  Kha.em.uast,  and 
tfa.nefer.ka.^tah,  and  his  wife  Ahura,  and  their  child  Mer-ab.  It  was 
written  in  the  thirty-fifth  year,  the  month  Tybi. 


Ancient  Greece 


INTRODUCTION 

^  II  ^  HERE  is  no  land  without  its  story-tellers,  and  in  the  dawn  of 
JL  Hellenic  civilization  we  find  the  half-legendary  author  of  the  Iliad 
and  the  Odyssey  telling  tales — some  of  them  so  long  and  elaborate  as 
to  be  called  epics,  and  some  of  them  brief  enough  to  be  classed  as  short 
stories.  Though  the  actual  composition  of  the  earliest  Greek  stories  dates 
from  a  thousand  or  fifteen  hundred  years  after  the  Egyptian  tales,  there 
is  no  doubt  that  they  were  sung  or  recited  centuries  before  the  great  epics 
assumed  the  form  in  which  they  are  now  known. 

The  poet  Hesiod,  somewhat  later  than  Homer,  but  before  the  opening 
of  the  Golden  Age  of  Greek  literature  (Fifth  Century,  B.C.),  inserted 
into  his  longer  mythical  and  didactic  works  episodes  which  are,  as  a 
matter  of  fact,  short  stories,  though  they  are  inferior  in  woi&manship 
to  the  ingenious  tales  with  which  Herodotus  enlivens  the  pages  of  his 
fascinating  History.  Herodotus  was  much  more  of  an  artist  than  a  mere 
recorder  of  facts.  He  was  determined  at  all  costs  to  make  his  work 
readable.  Other  and  later  historians  strove  to  imitate  him,  and  their 
books  are  full  of  anecdotes  and  episodes  many  of  which  might  be  ex- 
tracted to  demonstrate  the  gradual  development  of  the  form.  Plutarch, 
in  particular,  was  fond  of  relating  incidents  to  illustrate  the  Lives  of 
his  heroes. 

Though  the  fable  probably  originated  in  India,  it  was  given  a  par- 
ticular form  in  the  so-called  Beast  Fable  of  the  Greeks.  This  is  a  short 
story*  told  in  order  to  point  a  moral,  in  which  respect  it  is  not  essentially 
different  from  most  other  stories,  ancient  and  modern.  It  was  in  Greece 
that  a  collection  of  beast  fables  accumulated,  and  was  attributed  to  a 
certain  &sap,  of  whom  we  have  no  authentic  knowledge.  That  they 
are  ibort  and  deal  ostensibly  with  animals  instead  of  human  beings  in 
no  way  prevents  their  inclusion  in  a  collection  of  this  sort.  The  best  of 
them  are  masterpieces  in  the  art  of  condensed  narrative.  Though  the 
works  attributed  to  JEsop  are  now  lost,  they  have  been  preserved  in 
translated  or  adapted  form  by  the  Latin  fabulist,  Phsedrus. 

It  was  after  the  close  of  the  great  epoch  of  Greek  literature  that  the 
art  of  prose  fiction  arose  in  Greece.  Antonius  Diogenes,  Xenophon  of 

22 


ANCIENT  GREECE— INTRODUCTION  33 

Ephesus,  Achilles  Tatius,  Lucian,  Parthenius,  Longus,  and  Heliodorus 
belong  more  especially  among  the  writers  of  pure  fiction.  There  were 
occasional  exceptions,  like  Apolloniut  of  Rhodes,  who  sought  inspiration 
in  the  myths  of  the  past,  and  developed  the  more  or  less  crude  incidents 
of  the  ancients  into  comely,  if  occasionally  affected,  stories.  But  the 
romance  itself  was  originated  by  Xenophon  of  Ephesus,  Longus,  and 
Heliodorus,  and  later  developed  by  Achilles  Tatius  and  Chariton.  Still, 
the  short  story  as  an  independent  form  was  apparently  not  recognized. 
In  The  Robbers  of  Egypt,  which  is  the  first  chapter  of  Heliodorus* 
^Ethiopian  Romance,  we  find  a  complete  and  unified  short  story.  The 
Daphnis  and  Chloe  of  Longus  is  an  early  example  of  the  "long-short" 
story. 

Long  before  the  final  extinction  of  Greek  romance  the  Greek  forms 
had  been  carried  over  into  the  Roman  world,  where  they  were  to  flourish 
for  a  time,  disappear,  and  then  a  thousand  years  later  bloom  again  under 
the  touch  of  the  Italians. 


HOMER 

(About  1000  B.C.) 

THE  first  mention  of  Homer  dates  from  the  Seventh  Century  B.C., 
but  when  he  lived,  or  indeed  whether  he  ever  lived  at  all,  are  ques- 
tions that  have  never  been  solved.  The  Iliad  and  The  Odyssey 
were  probably  composed  about  a  thousand  years  before 'the  Chris- 
tian era.  The  short  story,  as  we  know  it,  was  not  of  course  a  recog- 
nized literary  form,  but  Eumtcus*  Tale>  in  The  Odyssey,  happens  to 
be  an  excellent  example.  It  is  told  to  Odysseus  by  the  old  swine- 
herd. 

The  present  version,  purposely  reduced  by  the  editors  to  more 
or  less  colloquial  prose,  is  based  upon  three  translations*  There 
is  no  title  in  the  original. 


EU1VLEUS'  TALE 
(From  The  Odyssey,  Book  XV) 

"nPlHERE  is  an  island  over  beyond  Ortygia — perchance  thou  hast 
JL  heard  tell  of  it — where  the  sun  turns.  It  is  a  goodly  island,  though 
not  very  vast,  with  rich  herds  and  flocks,  and  much'  grain  and  Wine. 
There  is  no  dearth,  and  no  illness  visits  ppor  mortals.  When  men  grow 
old  there,  Apollo  of  the  Silver  Bow,  in  company  with  Artemis,  comes 


*4.  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

to  them  and  kills  them  gently  with  his  shafts.  On  the  island  are  two 
cities,  which  divide  all  the  land  between  them.  My  father  was  king 
over  all,  Ctesius  son  of  Ormenus,  *  godlike  man. 

"To  this  land  came  the  Phoenicians,  famous  sailors  greedy  for  mer- 
chandise, bringing  many  things  in  their  dark  ship.  There  was  in  my 
father's  palace  a  Phoenician  woman,  tall  and  lovely,  and  skilful  in  mak- 
ing beautiful  things  with  her  hands;  her  the  Phoenicians  deceived  by 
their  guile.  As  she  was  washing  clothes  near  the  hollow  ship,  one  of 
them  conquered  her;  love  beguiles  many  women,  even  the  noblest.  The 
Phoenician  asked  her  who  she  was  and  from  what  land,  and  she  straight- 
way showed  him  the  high  palace  of  my  father,  and  said,  'I  come  from 
Sidon,  rich  in  bronze,  and  am  the  daughter  of  the  wealthy  Arybas. 
The  Taphians,  who  are  pirates,  seized  me  as  I  was  coming  from  the 
fields,  brought  me  to  this  land,  and  sold  me  for  a  great  price  to  my 
present  master.*  Then  he  who  had  conquered  her  said  in  answer, 
Wouldst  thou  return  once  more  to  thy  home  with  us,  to  sec  again 
the  high  palace  of  thy  father,  and  see  thy  mother?  They  are  yet  alive, 
and  are  reputed  to  be  wealthy.'  • 

"Then  the  woman  made  answer  to  him  and  said,  'This  may  be,  if 
you  sailors  will  swear  to  bring  me  home  safely.'  Thus  she  answered, 
and  the  sailors  swore  as  she  bade  them,  and  after  they  had  sworn,  the 
woman  spake  to  them:  'Say  naught  now;  let  none  of  you  speak  to  me 
when  you  see  me  in  the  street,  or  even  by  the  well,  lest  it  be  known 
and  told  to  the  old  man  here,  and  he  suspect  me  and  tie  me  fast  and 
bring  death  to  you  all.  But  keep  in  mind  the  plan,  and  hasten  to  bring 
your  freight  for  the  homeward  voyage.  When  your  ship  is  full  laden, 
send  a  messenger  quickly  to  the  palace  for  me,  and  I  will  bring  gold, 
all  I  can  lay  hand  upon.  And  there  is  more,  besides,  that  I  would  bring 
with  me:  I  am  nursing  a  child  for  my  master,  a  darling  boy  who  runs 
about  with  me;  I  would  bring  him  with  me  on  the  ship.  He  should 
bring  a  high  price,  if  you  sell  him  among  men  of  other  lands  and 
other  speech.' 

"Then  she  departed  to  the  fair  halls.  But  the  sailors  remained  among 
us  a  whole  year,  and  gathered  great  wealth  for  their  hollow  ship,  and 
when  it  was  laden  and  ready  to  sail,  a  messenger  was  sent  to  tell  the 
woman.  A  crafty  man  with  a  golden  and  amber  chain  came  to  the  halls 
of  my  father.  My  mother  and  the  maidens  in  the  palace  were  looking 
upon  the  chain  and  holding  it,  offering  the  man  a  price  for  it,  while  he 
made  signs  in  silence  to  the  woman.  Then  he  betook  himself  to  the 
hollow  ship.  The  woman  then  took  me  by  the  hand  and  led  me  out  of 
the  house.  At  the  doorway  she  found  the  cups  and  tables  of  the  guests 
who  had  feasted  and  waited  upon  my  father:  they  had  gone  out  to  the 
meeting-place  where  councils  were  held.  And  the  woman  concealed  three 
cups  in  her  bosom,  and  carried  them  away,  while  I  followed  her  inno- 


ANCIENT  GREECE— HOMER  2$ 

cently.  The  sun  sank  and  darkness  came.  Going  quickly,  we  reached  the 
harbor  and  the  swift  ship  of  the  Phoenicians;  the  sailors  went  aboard, 
taking  us  with  them,  and  sailed  ove#  the  ocean,  Zeus  giving  us  favoring 
winds.  We  sailed  continuously  day  and  night  for  six  days,  but  whep 
Zeus,  son  of  Cronos,  brought  the  seventh,  Artemis  the  huntress  struck 
down  the  woman  and  she  fell  like  a  swallow  to  the  bottom  of  the  ship. 
The  sailors  threw  her  overboard,  to  the  seals  and  the  fishes,  and  I  sor- 
rowed. With  the  help  of  wind  and  wave  they  came  to  Ithaca,  where 
Laertes  bought  me.  It  was  thus  that  I  first  beheld  this  place." 


(6th  Century,  B.C.?) 

was  "not  a  poet,"  says  Gilbert  Murray,  "but  the  legendary 
r  of  a  particular  type  of  story."  This  type  is  known  as  the 
Beast  Fable,  a  brief  incident  related  in  order  to  point  a  simple 
moral.  According  to  tradition  ^Esop  was  a  foreign  slave  of  the 
Sixth  Century  B.C.  Whether  the  fables  of  ancient  India,  such  as 
those  in  the  Hitofadesa,  influenced  the  ancient  Greeks  and  Ro- 
mar^  is  a  question  still  debated  by  scholars.  At  any  rate  there  is 
a  striking  similarity,  both  in  treatment  and  subject-matter,  between 
the  Fables  of  &sop,  Phaedrus  and  Avianus,  and  those  which  de- 
lighted the  Indians. 

The  present  translation  was  made  by  James  and  published  first 
in  1848. 


THE  COUNTRY  MOUSE  AND  THE  TOWN  MOUSE 

}NCE  upon  a  time  a  Country  Mouse  who  had  a  friend  in  town 
invited  him,  for  old  acquaintance'  sake,  to  pay  him  a  visit  in 
the  country.  The  invitation  being  accepted  in  due  form,  the  Country 
Mouse,  though  plain  and  rough  and  somewhat  frugal  in  his  nature, 
opened  his  heart  and  store,  in  honor  of  hospitality  and  an  old  friend. 
There  was  not  a  carefully  stored-up  morsel  that  he  did  not  bring  forth 
out  of  his  larder,  peas  and  barley,  cheese-parings  and  nuts,  hoping  by 
quantity  to  make  up  what  he  feared  was  wanting  in  quality,  to  suit  the 
palate  of  his  dainty  guest.  The  Town  Mouse,  condescending  to  pick  a 
bit  here  and  a  bit  there,  while  the  host  sat  nibbling  a  blade  of  barley- 
straw,  at  length  exclaimed,  "How  is  it,  my  good  friend,  that  you  can 
endure  the  dullness  of  this  unpolished  life?  You  are  living  like  a  toad 
in  a  hole*  You  can't  really  prefer  these  solitary  rocks  and  woods  to 


26  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

streets  teeming  with  carriages  and  men.  On  my  honor,  you  are  wasting 
your  time  miserably  here.  We  must  make  the  most  of  life  while  it  lasts. 
A  mouse,  you  know,  does  not  live*  forever.  So  come  with  me  and  I'll 
show  you  life  and  the  town."  Overpowered  with  such  fine  words  and  so 
polished  a  manner,  the  Country  Mouse  assented;  and  they  set  out  together 
on  their  journey  to  town.  It  was  late  in  the  evening  when  they  crept 
stealthily  into  the  city,  and  midnight  ere  they  reached  the  great  house, 
where  the  Town  Mouse  took  up  his  quarters.  Here  were  couches  of 
crimson  velvet,  carvings  in  ivory,  everything  in  short  that  denoted  wealth 
and  luxury.  On  the  table  were  the  remains  of  a  splendid  banquet,  to 
procure  which  all  the  choicest  shops  in  the  town  had  been  ransacked  the 
day  before.  It  was  now  the  turn  of  the  courtier  to  play  the  host;  he 
places  his  country  friend  on  purple,  runs  to  and  fro  to  supply  all  his 
wants,  presses  dish  upon  dish  and  dainty  upon  dainty,  and  as  though  he 
were  waiting  on  a  king,  tastes  every  course  ere  he  ventures  to  place  it 
before  his  rustic  cousin.  The  Country  Mouse,  for  his  part,  affects  to 
make  himself  quite  at  home,  and  blesses  the  good  fortune  that  had 
wrought  such  a  change  in  his  way  of  life;  when,  in  the  midsffof  his 
enjoyment,  as  he  is  thinking  with  contempt  of  the  poor  fare  he  has 
forsaken,  on  a  sudden  the  door  flies  open,  and  a  party  of  revellers  return- 
ing from  a  late  entertainment,  bursts  into  the  room.  The  affrighted 
friends  jump  from  the  table  in  the  greatest  consternation  and  tyde  them- 
selves in  the  first  corner  they  can  reach.  No  sooner  do  they  venture  to 
creep  out  again  than  the  barking  of  dogs  drives  them  back  in  still  greater 
terror  than  before.  At  length,  when  things  seemed  quiet,  the  Country 
Mouse  stole  out  from  his  hiding  place,  and  bidding  his  friend  good-bye, 
whispered  in  his  ear,  "Oh,  my  good  sir,  this  fine  mode  of  living  may  do 
for  those  who  like  it;  but  give  me  my  barley-bread  in  peace  and  security 
before  the  daintiest  feast  where  Fear  and  Care  are  in  waiting." 


HERODOTUS 

(484-424  B.C.) 

HERODOTUS,  the  Father  of  History,  is  celebrated  as  a  teller  of 
tales.  These  he  introduced  into  his  History  partly  for  purposes  of 
elucidation  and  example,  but  partly  also  because  he  enjoyed  writing 
them.  The  story  that  follows  is,  according  to  Professor  Murray 
"all  but  pure  fairy"  tale,  and  is  probably  based  on  an  Indian  origi- 
nal. For  the  first  time  in  Greek  literature  we  have  a  short  story  as 
unified  and  free  from  unessential  details  as  the  most  rigid  modern 
critic  could  desire. 

The  present  version,  which  comprises  Chapter  CXXI  of  the 


ANCIENT  GREECE— HERODOTUS  27 

Second  Book  of  the  History  y  is  from  the  standard  translation  by 
George  Rawlinson,  first  published  in  1858.  There  is  no  title  in 
the  original*  4 


KING  RHAMPSINITUS  AND  THE  THIEF 
(From  the  History,  Book  II) 

"ING  RHAMPSINITUS  was  possessed,  they  said,  of  great  riches 
in  silver — indeed  to  such  an  amount,  that  none  of  the  princes,  his 
successors,  surpassed  or  even  equaled  his  wealth.  For  the  better  custody 
of  this  money,  he  proposed  to  build  a  vast  chamber  of  hewn  stone,  one 
side  of  which  was  to  form  a  part  of  the  outer  wall  of  his  palace.  The 
builder,  therefore,  having  designs  upon  the  treasures,  contrived,  as  he 
was  making  the  building,  to  insert  in  this  wall  a  stone  which  could  easily 
be  removed  from  its  place  by  two  men,  or  even  one.  So  the  chamber  was 
finished,  and  the  king's  money  stored  away  in  it. 

Time  passed,  and  the  builder  fell  sick;  when  finding  his  end  approach- 
ing, he  called  for  his  two  sons,  and  related  to  them  the  contrivance  he 
had  made  in  the  king's  treasure-chamber,  telling  them  it  was  for  their 
sakes  he  had  done  it,  so  that  they  might  always  live  in  affluence.  Then 
he  gave*  them  clear  directions  concerning  the  mode  of  removing  the 
stone,  and  communicated  the  measurements,  bidding  them  carefully  keep 
the  secret,  whereby  they  would  be  Comptrollers  of  the  Royal  Exchequer 
so  long  as  they  lived.  Then  the  father  died,  and  the  sons^were,  not  slow 
in  setting  to  work;  they  went  by  night  to  the  palace,  found  the  stone 
in  the  wall  of  the  building,  and  haying  removed  it  with  ease,  plundered 
the  treasury  of  a  round  sum. 

When  the  king  next  paid  a  visit  to  the  apartment  he  was  astonished 
to  see  that  the  money  was  sunk  in  some  of  the  vessels  wherein  it  was 
stored  away.  Whom  to  accuse,  however,  he  knew  not,  as  the  seals  were 
all  perfect,  and  the  fastenings  of  the  room  secure.  Still  each  time  that 
he  repeated  his  visits,  he  found  that  more  money  was  gone.  The  thieves 
in  truth  never  stopped,  but  plundered  the  treasury  ever  more  and  more. 
^  At  last  the  king  determined  to  have  some  traps  made,  and  set  near  the 
vessels  which  contained  his  wealth.  This  was  done,  and  when  the  thieves 
came,  as  usual,  to  the  treasure  chamber,  and  one  of  them  entering 
through  the  aperture,  made  straight  for  the  jars,  suddenly  he  found  him- 
self caught  in  one  of  the  traps.  Perceiving  that  he  was  lost,  he  instantly 
called  his  brother,  and  telling  him  what  had  happened,  entreated  him  to 
enter  as  quickly  as  possible  and  cut  off  his  head,  that  when  his  body 
should  be  discovered  it  might  not  be  recognized,  which  would  have  the 
effect  of  bringing  ruin  upon  both.  The  other  thief  thought  the  advice 


38  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

good,  and  was  persuaded  to  follow  it;  then,  fitting  the  stone  into  its 
place,  he  went  home,  taking  with  him  his  brother's  head. 

When  day  dawned,  the  king  came  into  the  room,  and  marveled  greatjy 
to  see  the  body  of  the  thief  in  the  trap  without  a  head,  while  the  build- 
ing was  still  whole,  and  neither  entrance  nor  exit  was  to  be  seen  any- 
where. In  this  perplexity  he  commanded  the  body  of  the  dead  man  to 
be  hung  up  outside  the  palace  wall,  and  set  a  guard  to  watch  it,  with 
orders  that  if  any  persons  were  seen  weeping  or  lamenting  near  the 
place,  they  should  be  seized  and  brought  before  him.  When  the  mother 
heard  of  this  exposure  of  the  corpse  of  her  son,  she  took  it  sorely  to 
heart,  and  spoke  to  her  surviving  child,  bidding  him  devise  some  plan  or 
other  to  get  back  the  body,  and  threatening  that  if  he  did  not  exert 
himself  she  would  go  herself  to  the  king  and  denounce  him  as  the  robber. 

The  son  said  all  he  could  to  persuade  her  to  let  the  matter  rest,  but 
in  vain:  she  still  continued  to  trouble  him,  until  at  last  he  yielded  to  her 
importunity,  and  contrived  as  follows:  Filling  some  skins  with  wine,  he 
loaded  them  on  donkeys,  which  he  drove  before  him  till  he  came  to  the 
place  where  the  guards  were  watching  the  dead  body,  when,  pulliifg  two 
or  three  of  the  skins  towards  him,  he  untied  some  of  the  necks  which 
dangled  by  the  asses'  sides.  The  wine  poured  freely  out,  whereupon  he 
began  to  beat  his  head  and  shout  with  all  his  might,  seeming  not  to  know 
which  of  the  donkeys  he  should  turn  to  first.  % 

When  the  guards  saw  the  wine  running,  delighted  to  profit  by  the 
occasion,  they  rushed  one  and  all  into  the  road,  each  with  some  vessel 
or  other,  and  caught  the  liquor  as  it  was  spilling.  The  driver  pretended 
anger,  and  loaded  them  with  abuse;  whereon  they  did  their  best  to  pacify 
him,  until  at  last  he  appeared  to  soften,  and  recover  his  good  humor, 
drove  his  asses  aside  out  of  the  road,  and  set  to  work  to  rearrange  their 
burdens;  meanwhile,  as  he  talked  and  chatted  with  the  guards,  one  of 
them  began  to  rally  him,  and  make  him  laugh,  whereupon  he  gave  them 
one  of  the  skins  as  a  gift.  They  now  made  up  their  minds  to  sit  down 
and  have  a  drinking-bout  where  they  were,  so  they  begged  him  to  remain 
and  drink  with  them.  Then  the  man  let  himself  be  persuaded,  and 
stayed. 

As  the  drinking  went  on,  they  grew  very  friendly  together,  so  pres- 
ently he  gave  them  another  skin,  upon  which  they  drank  so  copiously 
that  they  were  all  overcome  with  liquor,  and  growing  drowsy,  lay  down, 
and  fell  asleep  on  the  spot.  The  thief  waited  till  it  was  the  dead  of  the 
night,  and  then  took  down  the  body  of  his  brother;  after  which,  in 
mockery,  he  shaved  off  the  right  side  of  all  the  soldiers'  beards,  and  so 
left  diem.  Laying  his  brother's  body  upon  the  asses,  he  carried  it  home 
to  his  mother,  having  thus  accomplished  the  thing  that  she  had  required 
of  him. 

When  it  came  to  the  king's  eaa»  {that  the  thief's  body  was  stolen  away, 


ANCIENT  GREECE— HERODOTUS  19 

he  was  sorely  vexed.  Wishing,  therefore,  whatever  it  might  cost,  to 
catch  the  man  who  had  contrived  the  trick,  he  had  recourse  (the  priest 
said)  to  an  expedient  which  I  can  scarcely  credit.  He  announced  that  he 
would  bestow  his  own  daughter  upon  the  man  who  would  narrate  to  her 
the  best  story  of  the  cleverest  and  wickedest  thing  done  by  himself.  If 
any  one  in  reply  told  her  the  story  of  the  thief,  she  was  to  lay  hold  of 
him,  and  not  allow  him  to  get  away. 

The  daughter  did  as  her  father  willed,  whereon  the  thief,  who  was 
well  aware  of  the  king's  motive,  felt  a  desire  to  outdo  him  in  craft 
and  cunning.  Accordingly  he  contrived  the  following  plan:  He  procured 
the  corpse  of  a  man  lately  dead,  and  cutting  off  one  of  the  arms  at  the 
shoulder,  put  it  under  his  dress,  and  so  went  to  the  king.'s  daughter. 
When  she  put  the  question  to  him  as  she  had  done  to  all  the  rest,  he 
replied  that  the  wickedest  thing  he  had  ever  done  was  cutting  off  the 
head  of  his  brother  when  he  was  caught  in  a  trap  in  the  king's  treasury, 
and  the  cleverest  was  making  the  guards  drunk  and  carrying  off  the 
body.  As  he  spoke,  the  princess  caught  at  him,  but  the  thief  took  ad  van* 
tage  o£  the  darkness  to  hold  out  to  her  the  hand  of  the  corpse.  Imagining 
it  to  be  his  own  hand,  she  seized  and  held  it  fast;  while  the  thief,  leav- 
ing it  in  her  grasp,  made  his  escape  by  the  door. 

The  king,  when  word  was  brought  him  of  this  fresh  success,  amazed 
at  the  sagacity  and  boldness  of  the  man,  sent  messengers  to  all  the  towns 
in  his  dominions  to  proclaim  a  free  pardon  for  the  thief,  and  to  promise 
him  a  rich  reward,  if  he  came  and  made  himself  known.  The  thief  took 
the  king  at  his  word,  and  came  boldly  into  his  presence;  whereupon 
Rhampsinitus,  greatly  admiring  him,  and  looking  on  him  as  the  most 
knowing  of  men,  gave  Ijjm  his  daughter  in  marriage.  "The  Egyptians," 
he  said,  "excelled  all  the  rest  of  the  world  in  wisdom,  and  this  man 
excelled  all  other  Egyptians." 


APOLLONIUS  OF  RHODES 

(3d  Century,  "B.C.) 

ALTHOUGH  he  was  a  late  writer  in  the  epic  form,  Apollonian 
treated  ancient  mythical  material,  but  from  the  standpoint  of  a 
scholar  and  a  literary  stylistT  He  left  his  native  land,  Rhodes,  and 
settled  in  Alexandria,  then  the  centre  of  the  cultured  world.  The 
tale  of  Phineus  is  not  new,  but  the  details  which  embellish  it,  and 
the  verbal  pyrotechnics  which  he  lavished  upon  il  are  highly  char- 
acteristic of  the  decadent  period  in  which  it  was  written. 

The  present  translation  is  that  of  R.  C.  Seaton,  in  the  Loeb 
edition,  William  Heinemann,  London,  1912.  There  is  no  title  to 
the  story  in  the  original. 


30  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

PHINEUS  AND  THE  HARPIES 

• 

(From  The  Argonautica,  Book  HI) 

npHERE  Phineus,  son  of  Agenor,  had  his  home  by  the  sea,  Phineus, 
JL  who  above  all  men  endured  most  bitter  woes  because  of  the  gift 
of  prophecy  which  Leto's  son  had  granted  him  aforetime.  And  he  rev- 
erenced not  a  whit  even  Zeus  himself,  for  he  foretold  unerringly  to  men 
his  sacred  will.  Wherefore  Zeus  sent  upon  him  a  lingering  old  age, 
and  took  from  his  eyes  the  pleasant  light,  and  suffered  him  not  to  have 
joy  of  the  dainties  untold  that  the  dwellers-around  ever  brought  to  his 
house  when  they  came  to  inquire  the  will  of  heaven.  But  on  a  sudden, 
swooping  through  the  clouds,  the  Harpies,  with  their  crooked  beaks,  in- 
cessantly snatched  the  food  away  from  his  mouth  and  hands,  and  at 
times  not  a  morsel. of  food  was  left,  at  others  but  a  little,  in  order  that 
he  might  live  and  be  tormented.  And  they  poured  forth  over  all  a  loath- 
some stench;  and  no  one  dared  not  merely  to  carry  food  to  his  fnouth, 
but  even  to  stand  at  a  distance,  so  foully  reeked  the  remnants  of  the 
meal.  But  straightway  when  he  heard  the  voice  and  the  tramp  of  the 
band  he  knew  that  they  were  the  men  passing  by,  at  whose  coming  Zeus's 
oracle  had  declared  to  him  that  he  should  have  joy  of  his  food^And  he 
rose  from  his  couch,  like  a  lifeless  dream,  bowed  over  his  staff,  and 
crept  to  the  door  on  his  withered  feet,  feeling  the  walls;  and  as  he 
moved,  his  limbs  trembled  for  weakness  and  age;  and  his  parched  skin 
was  caked  with  dirt,  and  naught  but  the  skin  held  his  bones  together. 
And  he  came  forth  from  the  hall  and  sat  on  tl\p  threshold  of  the  court- 
yard; and  a  dark  stupor  covered  him,  and  it  seemed  that  the  earth  reeled 
round  beneath  his  feet,  and  he  lay  in  a  strengthless  trance,  speechless. 
But  when  they  saw  him  they  gathered  round  and  marveled,  and  he  at 
last  drew  labored  breath  from  the  depths  of  his  chest  and  spoke  among 
them  with  prophetic  utterance: 

"Listen,  bravest  of  all  the  Hellenes,  if  it  be  truly  ye,  wHom  by  a 
king's  ruthless  command  Jason  is  leading  on  the  ship  Argo  in  quest  of 
the  fleece.  It  is  ye  truly.  Even  yet  my  soul  by  its  divinations  knows 
everything.  Thanks  I  render  to  thee,  O  King,  son  of  Leto,  plunged  in 
bitter  affliction  though  I  be.  I  beseech  you^by  Zeus,  the  god  of  suppliants, 
the  sternest  foe  to  sinful  men,  and  for  the  sake  of  Phoebus  and  Hera 
herself  under  whose  especial  care  ye  have  come  hither,  help  me,  save  an 
ill-fated  man  from  misery,  and  depart  not  uncaring,  and  leaving  me 
thus  as  ye  see.  For  not  only  has  the  Fury  set  her  foot  on  my  eyes  and 
I  drag  on  to  the  end  a  weary  old  age,  but  besides  my  other  woes  a  woe 
hangs  over  me,  the  bitterest  of  all.  The  Harpies,  swooping  down  from 
some  unseen  den  of  destruction,  ever  snatch  the  food  fropi  my  mouth, 


ANCIENT  GREECE— APOLLONIUS  31 

and  I  have  no  device  to  aid  me.  But  it  were  easier,  when  I  long  for  a 
mealy  to  escape  my  own  thoughts  than  them,  so  swiftly  do  they  fly 
through  the  air.  But  if  haply  they  do  leave  me  a  morsel  of  food,  it  reeks 
of  decay  and  the  stench  is  unendurable,  nor  could  any  mortal  bear  to 
draw  near,  even  for  a  moment,  no,  not  if  his  heart  were  wrought  of 
adamant.  But  necessity,  bitter  and  insatiate,  compels  me  to  abide,  and 
abiding  to  put  food  into  my  accursed  belly.  These  pests,  the  oracle  de- 
clares, the  sons  of  Boreas  shall  restrain,  and  no  strangers  are  they  that 
shall  ward  them  off  if  indeed  I  am  Phineus  who  was  once  renowned 
among  men  for  wealth  and  the  gift  of  prophecy,  and  if  I  am  the  son 
of  my  father  Agenor;  and  when  I  ruled  among  the  Thracians,  by  my 
bridal  gifts  I  brought  home  their  sister  Cleopatra  to  be  my  wife." 

So  spake  Agenor's  son,  and  deep  sorrow  seized  each  of  the  heroes, 
and  especially  the  two  sons  of  Boreas.  And  brushing  away  a  tear,  they 
drew  nigh,  and  Zetes  spake  as  follows,  taking  in  his  own  the  hand  of 
the  grief -worn  sire: 

"Unhappy  one,  none  other  of  men  is  more  wretched  than  thou,  me- 
thinks.  Why  upon  thee  is  laid  the  burden  of  so  many  sorrows?  Hast 
thou  &ith  baneful  folly  sinned  against  the  gods  through  thy  skill  in 
prophecy?  For  this  are  they  greatly  wroth  with  thee?  Yet  our  spirit  is 
dismayed  within  us  for  all  our  desire  to  aid  thee,  if  indeed  the  god  has 
granted  this  privilege  to  us  two.  For  plain  to  discern  to  men  of  earth 
are  the  reproofs  of  the  immortals.  And  we  will  never  check  the  Harpies 
when  they  come,  for  all  our  desire,  until  thou  hast  sworn  that  for  this 
we  shall  not  lose  the  favor  of  heaven." 

Thus  he  spake;  and  towards  him  the  aged  sire  opened  his  sightless 
eyes  and  lifted  them  up  and  replied  with  these  words: 

"Be  silent,  store  not  up  such  thoughts  in  thy  heart,  my  child.  Let  the 
son  of  Leto  be  my  witness,  he  who  of  his  gracious  will  taught  me  the 
lore  of  prophecy,  and  be  witness  the  ill-starred  doom  which  possesses  me, 
and  this  dark  cloud  upon  my  eyes,  and  the  gods  of  the  underworld — and 
may  their  curse  be  upon  me  if  I  die  perjured  thus— no  wrath  of  heaven 
will  fall  upon  you  two  for  your  help  to  me." 

Then  were  those  two  eager  to  help  him  because  of  the  oath.  And 
quickly  the  younger  heroes  prepared  a  feast  for  the  aged  man,  a  last 
prey  for  the  Harpies;  and  both  stood  near  him,  to  smite  with  the  sword 
those  pests  when  they  swooped  down.  Scarcely  had  the  aged  man  touched 
the  food  when  they  forthwith,  like  bitter  blasts  or  flashes  of  lightning, 
suddenly  darted  from  the  clouds,  and  swooped  down  with  a  yell>  fiercely 
craving  for  food;  and  the  heroes  beheld  them  and  shouted  in  the  midst 
of  their  onrush.  But  they,  at  the  cry,  devoured  everything  and  sped  away 
over  the  sea  afar,  and  an  intolerable  stench  remained.  And  behind  them 
the  two  sons  of  Boreas,  raising  their  swords,  rushed  in  pursuit.  F^r  Zeus 
imparted  to  them  tireless  strength;  but  without  Zeus  they  could  riot  likve 


3*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

followed,  for  the  Harpies  used  ever  to  outstrip  the  blasts  of  the  west 
Wind  when  they  came  to  Phineus,  and  when  they  left  him.  And,  as 
when,  upon  the  mountain-side,  hounds,  cunning  in  the  chase,  run  in  the 
track  of  horned  goats  or  deer,  and  as  they  strain  a  little  behind,  gnftsh 
their  teeth  upon  the  edge  of  their  teeth  in  vain;  so  Zetes  and  Calias 
rushing  very  near,  just  grazed  the  Harpies  in  vain  with  their  fingertips. 
And  assuredly  they  would  have  torn  them  to  piects  despite  heaven's  will 
when  they  had  overtaken  them  far  off  at  the  Floating  Islands,  had  not 
swift  Iris  seen  them  and  leaped  down  from  the  sky  from  heaven  above 
and  checked  them  with  these  words: 

"It  is  not  lawful,  O  sons  of  Boreas,  to  strike  with  your  swords  the 
Harpies,  the  hounds  of  mighty  Zeus;  but  I  myself  will  give  you  a 
pledge,  that  hereafter  they  shall  not  draw  near  to  Phineus/' 

With  these  words  she  took  an  oath  by  the  water  of  Styx,  which  to  all 
the  gods  is  most  dread  and  most  awful,  that  the  Harpies  would  never 
thereafter  again  approach  the  home  of  Phineus,  son  of  Agenor,  for  so  it 
Was  fated.  And  the  heroes,  yielding  to  the  oath,  turned  back  their  flight 
to  the  ship.  And,  on  account  of  this,  men  called  them  the  Islyjds  of 
Turning,  though  aforetime  they  had  called  them  the  Floating  Islands. 
And  the  Harpies  and  Iris  parted.  They  entered  their  den  in  Minoan 
Crete;  but  she  sped  up  to  Olympus,  soaring  aloft  on  her  swift 
Wings. 

Meantime  the  chiefs  carefully  cleansed  the  old  man's  squaiid  skin, 
ant!,  with  due  selection,  sacrificed  sheep  which  they  had  borne  away  from 
the  spoil  of  Amycus.  And  when  they  had  laid  a  huge  supper  in  the  hall, 
they  sat  down  and  feasted,  and  with  them  feasted  Phineus  ravenously, 
delighting  his  soul  as  in  a  dream.  And  there,  when  they  had  taken  their 
fill  of  food  and  drink,  they  kept  awake  all  night,  waiting  for  the  sons 
of  Boreas.  And  the  aged  sire  himself  sat  in  the  midst,  near  the  hearth, 
Celling  of  the  end  of  their  voyage  and  the  completion  of  their  journey. 


HELIODORUS 

(jd  Century,  A.D.) 

HELIODORUS  was  one  of  the  earliest  writers  of  the  novel,  or  ro- 
mance. Though  he  lived  long  after  the  close  of  the  Golden  Age 
of  Greek  literature,  he  is  (together  with  Longus)  the  initiator  of 
the  novel  form.  But  like  many  novelists  (even  modern  novelists, 
who  are  supposed  to  know  better),  he  interspersed  his  romance 
with  episodes  which  are  in  themselves  short  stories.  The  very 
first  chapter  of  the  &Mo$ian  Romance,  which  is  here  reprinted, 
is  such  a  story. 


ANCIENT  GREECE— HELIODORUS  33 

The  present  version  is  slightly  modified  and  modernized  from 
the  early  English  translation  by  Thomas  Underdowne.  There  is 
no  title  to  the  story  in  the  original. 


THE  ROBBERS  OF  EGYPT 
(Prom  The  JEtkiofica,  or  JEthtofian  Romance^  Book  I) 

AT  the  first  smile  of  day,  when  the  sun  was  just  beginning  to  shine 
JLJL  on  the  summits  of  the  hills,  men  whose  custom  was  to  live  by 
rapine  and  violence  ran  to  the  top  of  a  cliff  and  stretched  toward  that 
mouth  of  the  Nile  which  is  called  Heracleot.  Standing  awhile,  they 
viewed  the  sea  underneath  them,  and  when  they  had  looked  a  good  season 
afar  off  into  the  same  and  could  see  nothing  which  could  put  them  in 
the  hope  of  prey,  they  cast  their  eyes  toward  the  neighboring  shore,  where 
a  ship  lay  moored,  without  sailors  but  full-freighted;  which  thing  they 
who-iwere  afar  off  might  easily  conjecture,  for  the  cargo  brought  the 
water  up  to  the  ship's  third  loading-line.  But  on  the  shore  every  place 
was  full  of  men  newly  slain,  some  quite  dead,  some  half  dead,  some 
whose  bodies  yet  panted  and  plainly  declared  that  there  had  been  a  battle 
fought  of  late.  There  could  be  seen  no  signs  or  tokens  of  any  just 
quarrel*  but  only  some  poor  confused  remnants  of  an  unlucky  banquet 
which  had  ended  so.  For  the  tables  were  furnished  with  delicate  dishes, 
some  whereof  lay  in  the  hands  of  those  that  were  slain,  having  served 
as  weapons  in  the  battle  so  suddenly  begun.  Other  tables  covered  such 
as  had  crept  under  them  to  hide  themselves,  as  they  thought.  Besides,  the 
cups  were  overthrown  and  fallen  from  the  hands,  either  of  them  that 
drank  or  those  who  had,  instead  of  stones,  used  them.  For  that  sudden 
mischief  wrought  new  devices,  and  taught  them  instead  of  weapons  to 
use  their  pots.  Of  those  who  lay  there,  one  was  wounded  with  an  ax, 
another  was  hurt  with  the  shells  of  fishes,  whereof  on  the  shore  there 
was  great  plenty;  another  was  battered  with  a  club,  many  burnt  by 
fire,  and  the  rest  by  divers  other  means,  but  most  of  all  were  slain  with 
arrows.  To  be  brief,  God  showed  a  wonderful  sight  in  so  small  a  space, 
imbruing  wine  with  blood,  joining  battle  with  banqueting,  mingling 
7'ndifferently  slaughter  with  drinking,  and  killing  with  quaffings,  pro- 
viding such  a  sight  for  the  thieves  of  Egypt  to  gaze  at.  For  they,  when 
they  had  looked  upon  these  things  a  good  while  from  the  hill,  could  not 
understand  what  that  sight  meant,  forasmuch  as  they  saw  some  slain 
there,  but  the  conquerors  could  they  see  nowhere,  A  manifest  victory, 
but  no  spoils  taken  away,  a  ship  without  mariners,  but,  as  concerning 
other  things,  untouched,  as  if  she  had  been  kept  with  a  guard  of  many 
men,  and  lay  at  road  in  a  peaceful  harbor. 


34  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

But  though  they  knew  not  what  the  thing  meant,  they  still  had  regard 
for  gain,  and  deeming  themselves  to  be  victors,  hurried  with  all  speed 
to  seize  their  booty*  They  were  but  a  little  way  from  the  ship  when  they 
saw  a  sight  more  perplexing  than  the  rest  a  great  deal.  A  maid  endowed 
with  excellent  beauty,  who  almost  might  be  supposed  a  goddess,  sat  upon 
a  rock  seeming  not  a  little  to  be  grieved  with  that  present  mischance,  but 
for  all  that  of  excellent  courage.  She  had  a  garland  of  laurel  on  her 
head,  a  quiver  on  her  back;  to  her  left  shoulder  a  bow  was  fastened,  and 
her  left  arm  hung  carelessly  down.  Her  right  elbow  she  rested  upon  her 
thigh,  holding  her  cheek  in  her  hand,  looking  downward  without  moving 
her  head,  beholding  a  certain  young  man  who  lay  before  her,  the  which 
was  sore  wounded  and  seemed  to  lift  up  himself  as  if  he  had  been 
awakened  out  of  a  dead  sleep,  almost  of  death  itself.  Yet  was  he  in  this 
case  of  singular  beauty,  and  although  his  cheeks  were  besprinkled  with 
blood,  his  whiteness  did  appear  so  much  the  more.  He  was  constrained 
for  grief  to  close  his  eyes,  but  the  sight  of  the  maiden  drew  them  towards 
her,  and  they  must  needs  see,  because  they  saw  her.  As  soon  as  he  came 
to  himself  he  heaved  a  deep  sigh  and  uttered  these  words  very  fs^ntly, 
"And  art  thou  safe  indeed,  my  sweetheart?"  quoth  he.  "Or  hast  thou 
by  thy  death  augmented  the  slaughter?  Canst  thou  not  endure,  even 
after  death,  to  be  separated  from  me,  that  now  a  vision  of  thy  spirit 
haunts  this  place  of  trouble  ?"  "Nay,"  answered  the  maid,  "on  you  doth 
all  my  estate  depend,  for  good  or  ill,  for  this  cause,  you  see"— Showing 
a  knife  in  her  hand — "this  has  hitherto  been  waiting,  and  only  by  the 
chance  of  your  recovery  was  restrained." 

As  soon  as  she  had  said  thus,  she  leaped  from  the  stone,  and  they  who 
were  on  the  hill,  as  well  for  wonder  as  also  for  the  fear  they  had,  as  if 
they  had  been  stricken  with  lightning,  ran  every  man  to  hide  them  in 
the  bushes  there  beside.  For  she  seemed  to  them  a  thing  of  greater  price, 
and  more  heavenly  when  she  stood  upright,  and  her  arrows  with  the 
sudden  moving  of  her  body  gave  a  clash  on  her  shoulders,  her  apparel 
wrought  with  gold  glistened  against  the  sun,  and  her  hair  under  the 
garland,  blown  about  with  the  wind,  covered  a  great  part  of  her  back. 
The  thieves  were  greatly  afraid;  and  even  more  than  what  they  saw 
did  their  ignorance  of  what  had  happened  before  terrify  them.  Some  of 
them  said  indeed  it  was  a  goddess — Artemis,  or  Isis,  the  lady  of  the  land 
— others  declared  it  was  a  priestess  of  the  gods  who,  replenished  with 
divine  fury,  had  made  the  great  slaughter  which  there  appeared.  And 
they  every  man  gave  his  verdict,  because  they  knew  not  yet  the  truth. 
But  she,  hastily  running  to  the  young  man,  embraced  him,  wept  for 
sorrow,  kissed  him,  wiped  away  his  blood  and  made  pitiful  moan,  scarcely 
believing  that  she  held  him  in  her  arms.  Which  things  when  the  Egyp- 
tians had  seen,  they  turned  their  opinions:  "And  are  these,"  said  they, 
works  of  a  goddess?  Would  a  goddess  kiss  a  dead  man  with  such 


ANCIENT  GREECE— HELIODORUS  35 

compassion?"  They  determined  therefore  with  themselves  that  it  was 
best  to  take  heart  of  grace,  and  draw  near  to  find  out  the  truth.  When 
they  had  therefore  encouraged  each  other  a  little,  they  ran  down  and 
tound  the  maid  busy  in  dressing  the  young  man's  wounds,  and  coming 
behind  her,  suddenly  stood  still,  and  durst  neither  speak  nor  do  anything 
more  for  their  lives. 

When  she  heard  the  noise  around  her,  and  saw  their  shadows  before 
her  eyes,  she  lifted  herself  up  a  little  and  looked  back,  but  then  at  once 
stooped  down  again,  no  whit  dismayed  by  the  strange  color  of  their  skin, 
nor  yet  abashed  to  see  the  thieves  in  harness,  but  applying  herself  only 
to  bind  up  his  wounds  that  lay  before  her.  Such  is  the  force  of  earnest 
desire  and  true  love:  it  despiseth  all  outward  chances,  be  they  pleasant 
or  otherwise,  only  beholding  that  which  it  loveth,  and  thereabout  be- 
stoweth  all  diligence  and  travail.  But  when  the  thieves  passed  by  and 
stood  before  her,  and  seemed  as  though  they  would  enterprise  somewhat, 
she  lifted  herself  up  again  and  beholding  them  black  and  ill-favored, 
said:  "If  you  be  the  spirits  of  those  who  are  slain  here,  you  trouble  us 
wrongfully,  for  most  of  you  were  slain  by  your  own  hands.  As  for  us, 
if  we  slew  any,  we  did  it  but  in  our  <Jwn  defense  to  repel  the  violence 
which  was  proffered  to  my  virginity.  But  if  you  be  men  alive,  it  seemeth 
you  are  thieves,  and  you  have  come  here  in  good  season.  Rid  us,  I  pray, 
from  these  present  miseries,  and  by  death  finish  this  our  unhappy  tragedy." 
Thus  did  she  sorrowfully  lament.  But  they,  not  understanding  what  she 
said,  left  them  there,  accounting  their  weakness  a  sufficient  guard,  and 
hastened  to  the  ship,  and  brought  out  that  which  was  in  the  same,  paying 
no  regard  to  other  things  whereof  therein  was  great  store,  but  every  man 
bearing  out  as  much  as  he  could,  of  gold,  silver,  precious  stones  and  silk. 
And  when  they  thought  they  had  enough,  and  there  was  such  plenty  as 
might  satisfy  even  a  thief's  greed,  laying  their  booty  on  the  shore,  they 
fell  to  dividing  it  into  portions  such  as  they  could  carry,  not  according 
to  the  worth  and  value  of  what  they  had,  but  contenting  themselves 
with  equality  of  weight.  As  for  the  young  man  and  the  maid,  they  would 
take  order  for  them  afterwards. 

In  the  meantime,  another  company  of  thieves,  whereof  two  horsemen 
were  captains,  came  toward  them:  which  thing  as  soon  as  those  saw  that 
had  been  there  before,  having  no  courage  to  oppose  them,  they  ran  away 
as  fast  as  they  could,  without  taking  with  them  any  part  of  the  prey, 
that  they  might  give  their  enemy  no  occasion  to  pursue  them.  For  they 
were  in  number  but  ten,  and  those  who  came  upon  them  were  three  times 
as  many.  And  so  the  maid  and  her  companion,  though  not  yet  prisoners, 
were  again  in  durance.  But  the  robbers,  although  they  were  eager  for 
the  spoil,  yet,  partly  because  they  knew  not  what  those  things  signified 
which  they  saw,  and  partly  also  for  fear,  stayed  themselves  a  while, 
thinking  that  the  former  slaughter  had  been  made  by  the  thieves  that 


36  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

had  been  there  before.  But  when  they  beheld  the  maid  in  her  fine  for- 
eign dress,  who  despised  the  dangers  that  hung  over  her  head  as  if  they 
had  been  none,  and  altogether  employed  her  care  to  ease  the  young 
man's  wounds,  taking  his  grief  as  heavily  as  her  own  sorrow,  they  not 
only  marveled  at  her  beauty  and  high  spirit  but  were  wonderfully  moved 
by  the  comeliness  of  the  wounded  man's  person.  Such  was  the  seemliness 
of  his  countenance,  and  tallness  of  his  stature,  as  he  lay  before  them. 
For  by  this  time  he  was  a  little  mended,  and  his  person  had  recovered 
its  old  handsomeness  again.  At  length,  after  they  had  beheld  them  a 
good  while,  he  drew  near  who  was  their  master,  and  laid  hand  on  the 
maid,  and  bade  her  arise  and  follow  him.  She,  although  she  understood 
not  what  he  said,  conjecturing  what  he  wished  her  to  do,  drew  the  young 
man  with  her,  himself  holding  her  fast,  and  pointing  with  a  knife  to 
her  breast,  threatened  that  she  would  kill  herself  if  they  carried  them 
not  away  both  together.  Which  thing  when  the  master,  partly  by  her 
talk  but  more  plainly  by  her  gesture,  understood,  hoping  also  to  use  the 
young  man's  help  in  great  affairs  when  he  recovered,  he  alighted  him- 
self from  his  horse  and  commanded  his  harness-bearer  likewise  %o  to 
do,  and  set  his  prisoners  upon  them.  Then,  ordering  the  rest  when  they 
had  gathered  up  the  prey  to  follow  them,  he  himself  like  a  lackey  ran 
by  their  side  and  stayed  them  upright,  if  by  reason  of  their  infirmity  they 
were  likely  to  fall.  Surely  this  deed  was  not  without  glory;  forjie  who 
was  their  master  now  waited  upon  them,  and  he  who  took  them  prisoners 
was  content  to  serve  them.  Such  is  the  impression  that  nobility  makes,  and 
such  the  force  of  comeliness,  which  can  subdue  the  disposition  of  thieves 
and  bring  under  the  wild  and  savage. 


Ancient  Rome 


INTRODUCTION 

IT  is  a  commonplace  of  literary  history  that  Roman  art  was  largely 
imitated  or  derived  from  the  Greek,  and  in  particular  that  Roman 
literature  contributed  little  to  the  world's  store  of  masterpieces.  Yet 
among  the  Romans  the  short  story  was  esteemed  more  highly  and  was 
often  more  skilfully  developed  than  it  was  among  the  Greeks. 

The  first  of  the  stories  chosen  is  from  the  historian  Livy.  Before  his 
day  Acre  is  very  little  material  from  which  to  select,  although  if  the 
earlier  writers  of  epic  and  history  were  better  known  to  us,  we  might 
have  found  stories  in  the  works  of  Livius  Andronicus,  Ennius,  and  the 
historians,  most  of  whose  writings  have  been  lost.  In  the  Letters  of 
Cicero  are  numerous  incidents  falling  within  our  category,  but  none  of 
them  of  sufficient  intrinsic  interest  to  warrant  their  inclusion  in  this 
volume.  Livy's  History  abounds  in  episodes,  many  of  them  related  with 
a  certain  matt er-of-factn ess  that  characterizes  a  great  deal  of  Latin 
prose  writing.  Still,  Horatius  at  the  Bridge  is  a  stirring  tale  rendered 
doubly  effective  by  its  simplicity. 

Ovid  was  a  born  teller  of  stories,  and  though  he  borrowed  largely 
from  the  Greeks  and  was  a  fastidious  poet  intent  upon  achieving  a 
refined  and  elegant  style,  the  numerous  myths  which  he  treats  at  length 
in  his  Metamorphoses  include  half  a  dozen  of  the  loveliest  stories  ever 
written. 

Other  poets  and  historians  and  miscellaneous  writers — Valerius  Maxi- 
mus,  Varro,  Statius,  Tacitus  and  Suetonius—tried  their  hand  at  story- 
telling, and  even  Vergil  in  his  JEneid,  recounted  episodes  that  are  genuine 
stories,  but  none  of  them  could  rival  the  technical  skill  with  which  the 
minor  poet  Phaedrus  turned  the  ^sopian  fables  and  everyday  incidents 
of  life  and  history  into  graceful  and  appealing  tales.  Like  the  earlier 
fabulists,  Phsedrus  preached  little  sermons.  The  most  interesting  parts  of 
his  work  are  the  little  anecdotes,  like  the  one  included  in  this  Volume; 
these  are  miniature  stories.  The  other  famous  Roman  fabulist  was  Avianus 
who,  rediscovered  in  the  Middle  Ages,  exerted  a  profound  and  lasting 
influence  in  France  and  Germany.  But  his  work  is  neither  so  finished 
nor  so  attractive  as  that  of  Phsedrus. 

37 


38  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Many  genuine  stories  are  found  in  the  personal  correspondence  of  the 
time,  chiefly  among  the  published  collections  of  Cicero  and  Pliny  the 
Younger.  Pliny  wrote  several  short  stories  which  he  elaborated  with  con- 
scious skill,  for  he  wrote  with  a  view  to  publication.  Throughout  a*ll 
modern  literature  we  find  stories,  indeed  lengthy  stories  (see  Richard- 
son), related  through  the  medium  of  letters.  This  is  a  deliberate  device 
employed  to  lend  to  the  narrative  an  air  of  actuality.  It  would  be  en- 
lightening to  know  whether  Pliny  wrote  his  Haunted  House  as  a  lit- 
erary experiment,  or  whether  he  really  believed  the  story.  But  supposing 
he  related  it  as  a  fact — supposing  even  that  all  the  facts  were  to  be 
proved  scientifically  correct,  would  it  be  any  the  less  a  good  story? 

Petronius  belonged  to  a  different  world  in  which  Latin  prose  had  lost 
a  good  deal  of  its  rigid  dignity,  and  like  the  literature  of  the  late  Hel- 
lenistic period  in  Greece,  was  characterized  by  a  facile  cynicism  on  the 
part  of  the  writers,  and  an  over-luxuriance  of  style.  The  writers  were  very 
numerous,  poets,  historians,  satirists,  and  even  scientists  interspersing  their 
writings  with  tales  of  haunted  houses,  ghosts,  and  all  the  supernatural 
apparitions  that  are  the  stock-in-trade  of  the  story-writer.  Petronivs  and 
Apuleius,  however,  stood  head  and  shoulders  above  the  rest  of  their  con- 
temporaries and  followers.  The  Matron  of  Efhesus,  hackneyed  though  its 
theme  may  be,  is  a  masterpiece  of  satirical  fiction,  while  The  Dream  is 
one  of  a  dozen  tales  of  mystery  and  imagination  which  constitute  the 
chief  glory  of  The  Golden  Ass.  That  rambling  romance,  it*will  be 
remembered,  also  contains  the  enchanting  Cupid  and  Psyche^  which  is 
far  too  long  for  inclusion  in  a  collection  of  this  sort. 
,  Just  at  what  point  Roman  literature  ended  is  a  matter  to  be  deter- 
mined by  the  historians,  but  after  the  Fifth  Century  A.D.  it  becomes 
increasingly  difficult  to  designate  any  tale  as  unmistakably  Roman. 

Then  foreigners  began  to  change  the  face  of  the  Empire,  Christianity 
damped  the  ardour  of  the  artist  and  stifled  the  imagination  of  the  story- 
teller. It  is  not  until  the  dawn  of  modern  times,  some  six  or  seven 
centuries  afterward,  when  the  fragments  of  Roman  stories  were  again 
taken  up  and  imbedded  in  the  curious  mediaeval  mosaics  of  the  Gesta 
Romanorum  and  the  Hundred  Ancient  Tales,  that  we  realize  how  the 
art  of  tale-telling  had  never  been  forgotten. 

Throughout  the  break-up  of  Rome  and  the  barbarian  invasions,  through 
the  darkest  years  of  the  Tenth  Century,  the  Latin  traditions  were  pre- 
served in  the  manuscripts  of  the  monasteries,  and  on  the  lips  of  singers, 
minstrels,  acrobats,  and  actors. 

With  Apuleius  and  Petronius  the  short  story,  as  an  art-form,  may  be 
said  to  have  achieved  a  decided  technical  advance  over  the  efforts  of  the 
Greeks.  With  these  later  writers  the  story  was  told  largely  for  its  own 
sake,  and  not  to  illustrate  a  moral  truth  or  glorify  the  deeds  of  the 
people. 


ANCIENT  ROME— LIVY  ,      39 

LIVY 

(59  B.C.-I7  A.D.) 

TITUS  Livxus,  known  to  as  under  the  English  title  of  Livy, 
though  born  in  the  provinces  at  Padua,  spent  most  of  his  life  at  the 
capital,  where  he  was  a  teacher  and  writer  of  history.  His  History 
of  Rome  was  a  monumental  work,  of  which  only  a  part  has  come 
down  to  us.  Like  practically  all  the  historians  of  antiquity  (and 
most  of  the  moderns,  for  that  matter)  he  introduces  stories  and 
anecdotes  on  hearsay  evidence,  using  them  in  order  to  glorify  his 
country  or  to  drive  home  a  lesson.  Horatius  at  the  Bridge  is  a  case 
in  question,  and  though  it  may  be  founded  on  fact,  it  is  probably 
apocryphal  in  detail. 

The  present  translation  (including  Chapters  IX  and  X  of  Book 
II)  is  a  revision  of  that  made  by  D.  Spillan,  published  in  the  Bohn 
edition  in  1872.  There  is  no  title  in  the  original. 


HORATIUS  AT  THE  BRIDGE 

«o 

(From  the  History ',  Book  II ) 

BY  this  time  the  Tarquins  had  fled  to  Lars  Porsena,  king  of  Clusium. 
There,  with  advice  and  entreaties,  they  besought,  him  <not  to  suffer 
them,  who  were  descended  from  the  Etrurians  and  of  the  same  blood  and 
name,  to  live  in  exile  and  poverty;  and  advised  him  not  to  let  this  practice 
of  expelling  kings  to  pass  unpunished.  Liberty,  they  declared,  had 
charms  enough  in  itself;  and  unless  kings  defended  their  crowns  with 
as  much  vigor  as  the  people  pursued  their  liberty,  the  highest  must  be 
reduced  to  a  level  with  the  lowest;  there  would  be  nothing  exalted, 
nothing  distinguished  above  the  rest;  hence  there  must  be  an  end  of 
regal  government,  the  most  beautiful  institution  both  among  gods  and 
men.  Porsena,  thinking  it  would  be  an  honor  to  the  Tuscans  that  there 
should  be  a  king  at  Rome,  especially  one  of  the  Etrurian  nation,  marched 
towards  Rome  with  an  army.  Never  before  had  such  terror  seized  the 
Senate,  so  powerful  was  the  state  of  Clusium  rt  the  time,  and  so  great 
the  renown  of  Porsena.  Nor  did  they  only  dread  their  enemies,  but  even 
their  own  citizens,  lest  the  common  people,  through  excess  of  fear  should, 
by  receiving  the  Tarquins  into  the  city,  accept  peace  even  though  pur- 
chased with  slavery.  Many  concessions  were  therefore  granted  to  the 
people  by  the  Senate  during  that  period.  Their  attention,  in  the  first 
place,  was  directed  to  the  markets,  and  persons  were  sent,  some  to  the 


40  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Volscians,  others  to  Cumae,  to  buy  up  corn.  The  privilege  of  selling  salt, 
because  it  was  farmed  at  a  high  rate,  was  also  taken  into  the  hands  of 
the  government,  and  withdrawn  from  private  individuals;  and  the  peo- 
ple were  freed  from  port-duties  and  taxes,  in  order  that  the  rich,  who 
could  bear  the  burden,  should  contribute;  the  poor  paid  tax  enough  if 
they  educated  their  children.  This  indulgent  care  of  the  fathers  accord- 
ingly kept  the  whole  state  in  such  concord  amid  the  subsequent  severities 
of  the  siege  and  famine,  that  the  highest  as  well  as  the  lowest  abhorred 
the  name  of  king;  nor  was  any  individual  afterwards  so  popular  by 
intriguing  practices  as  the  whole  Senate  was  by  their  excellent  govern- 
ment. 

Some  parts  of  the  city  seemed  secured  by  the  walls,  others  by  the 
River  Tiber.  The  Sublician  Bridge  well-nigh  afforded  a  passage  to  the 
enemy,  had  there  not  been  one  man,  Horatius  Codes  (fortunately  Rome 
had  on  that  day  such  a  defender)  who,  happening  to  be  posted  on  guard 
at  the  bridge,  when  he  saw  the  Janiculum  taken  by  a  sudden  assault  and 
the  enemy  pouring  down  thence  at  full  speed,  and  that  his  own  party, 
in  terror  and  confusion,  were  abandoning  their  arms  and  ranks,  hying 
hold  of  them  one  by  one,  standing  in  their  way  and  appealing  to  the 
faith  of  gods  and  men,  he  declared  that  their  flight  would  avail  them 
nothing  if  they  deserted  their  post;  if  they  passed  the  bridge,  there  would 
soon  be  more  of  the  enemy  in  the  Palatium  and  Capitol  than  in  the 
Janiculum.  For  that  reason  he  charged  them  to  demolish  the  bridge,  by 
sword,  by  fire,  or  by  any  means  whatever;  declaring  that  he  would  stand 
the  shock  of  the  enemy  as  far  as  could  be  done  by  one  man.  He  then 
advanced  to  the  first  entrance  of  the  bridge,  and  being  easily  distinguished 
among  those  who  showed  their  backs  in  retreating,  faced  about  to  engage 
the  foe  hand  to  hand,  and  by  his  surprising  bravery  he  terrified  the  enemy. 
Two  indeed  remained  with  him  from  a  sense  of  shame:  Sp.  Lartius  and 
T.  Herminius,  men  eminent  for  their  birth,  and  renowned  for  their  gal- 
lant exploits.  With  them  he  for  a  short  time  stood  the  first  storm  of  the 
danger,  and  the  severest  brunt  of  the  battle.  But  as  they  who  demolished 
the  bridge  called  upon  them  to  retire,  he  obliged  them  also  to  withdraw 
to  a  place  of  safety  on  a  small  portion  of  the  bridge  that  was  still  left. 
Then  casting  his  stern  eyes  toward  the  officers  of  the  Etrurians  in  a 
threatening  manner,  he  now  challenged  them  singly,  and  then  reproached 
them,  slaves  of  haughty  tyrants  who,  regardless  of  their  own  freedom, 
came  to  oppress  the  liberty  of  others.  They  hesitated  for  a  time,  looking 
round  one  at  the  other,  to  begin  the  fight;  shame  then  put  the  army  in 
motion,  and  a  shout  being  raised,  they  hurled  weapons  from  all  sides  at 
their  single  adversary;  and  when  they  all  stuck  in  his  upraised  shield, 
and  he  with  no  less  obstinacy  kept  possession  of  the  bridge,  they  endeavored 
to  thrust  him  down  from  it  by  one  push,  when  the  crash  of  the  falling 
bridge  was  heard,  and  at  the  same  time  a  shout  of  the  Romans  raised  for 


ANCIENT  ROME— LIVY  41 

joy  at  having  completed  their  purpose,  checked  their  ardor  with  sudden 
panic.  Then  said  Codes:  "Holy  Father  Tiber,  I  pray  thee,  receive  these 
arms,  and  this  thy  soldier,  in  thy  propitious  stream."  Armed  as  he  was,  he 
leaped  into  the  Tiber,  and  amid  showers  of  darts,  swam  across  safe  to 
his  party,  having  dared  an  act  which  is  likely  to  obtain  with  posterity 
more  fame  than  credit.  The  state  was  grateful  for  such  valor;  a  statue 
was  erected  to  him  in  the  comitium,  and  as  much  land  given  to  him  as 
he  could  plow  in  one  day.  The  zeal  of  private  individuals  was  also  con- 
spicuous among  his  public  honors.  For  amid  the  great  scarcity,  each  con- 
tributed something,  according  to  his  supply,  depriving  himself  of  his 
own  support. 


OVID 

(43  B.C.-I8   A.D.?) 

PUBLIUS  OVIDIUS  NASO,  better  known  to  readers  of  English  as 
Ovid,  was  born  not  far  from  Rome,  and  spent  the  latter  part  of 
his  life  in  exile.  The  Metamorphoses,  his  most  ambitious  work,  is 
an  attempt  to  reshape  in  metrical  form  the  chief  stories  of  Greek 
mythology,  and  several  from  Roman  mythology.  Orpheus  and 
Eurydice,  one  of  the  most  human  of  the  legends  of  antiquity,  is 
a  graceful  piece  of  writing.  Its  "point"  is  as  clear  and  as  cleverly 
turned  as  you  will  find  in  any  ancient  tale. 

The  present  translation  is  based  by  the  editors  upon  two  early 
versions,  the  one  very  literal,  the  other  a  paraphrase.  The  story, 
which  has  no  title  in  the  original,  appears  in  the  Tenth  Book  of 
the  Metamorphoses. 


ORPHEUS  AND  EURYDICE 
(From  The  Metamorf hoses,  Book  X) 

Hymenaeus,  clad  in  a  saffron-colored  robe,  passed  through 
JL  the  unmeasured  spaces  of  the  air  and  directed  his  course  to  the 
region  of  the  Ciconians,  and  in  vain  was  invoked  by  the  voice  of 
Orpheus.  He  presented  himself,  but  brought  with  him  neither  auspicious 
words,  nor  a  joyful  appearance,  nor  happy  omen.  The  torch  he  held 
hissed  with  a  smoke  that  brought  tears  to  the  eyes,  though  it  was  without 
a  flame.  The  issue  was  more  disastrous  than  the  omen;  for  the  new 
bride,  while  strolling  over  the  grass  attended  by  a  train  of  Naiads,  was 
killed  by  the  sting  of  a  serpent  on  her  ankle. 


4*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 


the  Rhodopcian  bard  had  bewailed  her  in  the  upper  realms,  he 
4ared,  that  he  might  try  the  shades  below  as  well,  to  descend  to  the  Styx 
by  the  Txnarian  Gate,  and  amid  the  phantom  inhabitants,  he  went  to 
Penephone*  and  him  who  held  sway  over  the  dark  world.  Touching  th*e 
strings  of  his  harp  and  speaking,  he  thus  addressed  them:  "Oh,  ye  deities 
of  the*  world  that  lies  beneath  the  earth,  to  which  we  all  come  at  last, 
if  I  be  permitted  to  speak,  laying  aside  the  artful  expressions  of  a  deceit- 
ful tongue,  I  have  not  descended  hither  from  curiosity  to  see  dark 
Tartarus  nor  to  bind  the  threefold  throat  of  the  Medusaean  monster 
bristling  with  serpents.  My  wife  is  the  cause  of  my  coming,  into  whom 
a  serpent  which  she  trod  on  suffused  its  poison,  and  cut  short  the  thread 
of  her  years.  I  wished  to  be  able  to  endure  this,  and  I  will  not  deny 
that  I  have  striven  to  do  so.  But  love  has  proved  stronger.  That  god 
is  well-known  in  the  regions  above;  whether  he  be  so  here  as  well,  I 
am  uncertain.  Yet  I  think  that  even  here  he  is,  and  if  the  story  of  the 
rape  of  former  days  is  true,  'twas  love  that  brought  you  two  together. 
By  these  places  filled  with  terrors,  by  this  vast  chaos  and  by  the  silence 
of  these  boundless  realms,  I  entreat  you,  weave  over  again  the  guick- 
spun  thread  of  the  life  of  Eurydice. 

"To  you  we  all  belong,  and  having  stayed  but  a  little  while  above, 
sooner  or  later  we  all  hasten  to  your  abode.  Hither  are  we  all  hastening. 
This  is  our  last  home,  and  you  possess  indisputable  dominion  over  the 
human  race.  She,  too,  when  in  due  time  she  shall  have  completed  her 
allotted  number  of  years,  will  be  under  your  sway.  The  enjoyment  of 
her  I  entreat  as  a  favor,  but  if  the  fates  deny  me  this  privilege  on 
behalf  of  my  wife,  I  have  determined  that  I  will  never  return  to  earth. 
Triumph,  then,  in  the  death  of  us  both!" 

As  he  spoke  and  touched  the  strings  of  his  lyre,  the  bloodless  spirits 
wept.  Tantalus  no  longer  caught  at  the  retreating  water;  the  wheel  of 
Ixion  stood  still  in  amazement;  the  birds  ceased  to  tear  at  the  liver  of 
Tityus,  and  the  granddaughters  of  Belus  paused  at  their  urns.  Thou, 
too,  Sisyphus,  didst  seat  thyself  on  the  stone.  The  story  is  that  then  for 
the  first  time  the  cheeks  of  the  Eumenides,  overcome  by  the  music  of 
Orpheus,  were  wet  with  tears;  nor  could  the  royal  consort,  nor  he  who 
ruled  the  infernal  regions  endure  to  deny  his  request.  And  they  called 
for  Eurydice.  She  advanced  at  a  slow  pace  from  among  the  shades  newly 
arrived,  for  she  was  lame  from  her  wound. 

The  Rhodopeian  hero  received  her  and  at  the  same  time  was  told  the 
condition  that  he  turn  not  back  his  eyes  until  he  had  passed  the  Avernian 
V^lley,lest  the  grant  be  revoked.  They  ascended  the  path  in  silence,  steep, 
dark,  and  enveloped  in  deepening  gloom.  Now  they  were  arrived  at  last 
at  a  point  not  Jfar  below  the  verge  of  the  upper  earth.  Orpheus,  fearing 
lest  Eurydice  should  fall,  and  impatient  to  behold  her  once  again,  turned 
his  eyes,  and  at  once  she  sank  back  again.  Hapless  woman,  stretching  out 


ANCIENT  ROME— OVID  43 

her  hands  and  struggling  for  the  arms  of  her  lover,  she  caught  nothing 
but  empty  air.  Dying  a  second  time,  she  complained  not  of  her  husband, 
for  why  should  she  complain  of  being  beloved?  Then  she  pronounced 
the  last  farewell,  which  he  scarcely  heard,  and  again  was  she  hurried 
back  whence  she  had  come. 

And  Orpheus  was  astounded  and  perplexed  by  this  two-fold  death  of 
his  wife. 


PPLEDRUS 

(15    B.C.?-55    A.D.?) 

IT  was  the  chief  distinction  of  this  writer  to  have  collected  the 
Fables  of  ^Ssop  (or  whoever  it  was  who  wrote  ^Esop's  works)  and 
rewritten  them  for  the  Romans.  His  collection  is  the  earliest  of 
"*its  kind  which  has  survived.  Not  all  his  Fables,  however,  are  based 
upon  &sop.  The  ^  hi  f  wreck  of  Simonides  is  either  an  original 
composition  or  was  taken  from  another  source.  Phaedrus  was  a 
Thracian  slave,  and  later  a  freedman,  in  the  service  of  the  Em- 
peror Augustus.  He  once  declared  that  the  fable  was  invented  as 
a  ^device  whereby  slavery  could  find  a  voice,"  a  definition  which 
throws  considerable  light  on  Phaedrus'  life,  even  if  it  fails  to  ex- 
plain the. origin  of  the  Fable  form. 

The  present  text  was  first  published  in  the  Bohn  edition  of 
Phaedrus  in  1848. 


THE  SHIPWRECK  OF  SIMONIDES 

A  LEARNED  man  has  always  a  fund  of  riches  in  himself. 
jLJCL  Simonides,  who  wrote  such  excellent  lyric  poems,  the  more 
easily  to  support  his  poverty,  Segan  to  make  a  tour  of  the  celebrated 
cities  of  Asia,  singing  the  praises  of  victors  for  such  reward  as  he  might 
receive.  After  he  had  become  enriched  by  this  kind  of  gain,  he  resolved 
to  return  to  his  native  land  by  sea  (for  he  was  born,  it  is  said,  in  the 
island  of  Ceos).  Accordingly  he  embarked  in  a  ship,  which  a  dreadful 
tempest,  together  with  its  own  rottenness,  caused  to  founder  at  sea. 
Some  gathered  together  their  girdles,  others  their  precious  effects,  which 
formed  the  support  of  their  existence.  One  who  was  over  inquisitive, 
remarked:  "Are  you  going  to  save  none  of  your  property,  Simonides?" 
He  made  reply:  "All  my  possessions  are  about  me."  A  few  only  made 
their  escape  by  swimming,  for  the  majority,  being  weighed  down  by  their 


44  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

burdens,  perished.  Some  thieves  too  made  their  appearance,  and  seized 
what  each  person  had  saved,  leaving  him  naked.  Clazomenae,  an  ancient 
citjr,  chanced  to  be  near;  to  which  the  shipwrecked  persons  repaired. 
Here  a  person  devoted  to  the  pursuits  of  literature,  who  had  often  read 
the  lines  of  Simonides,  and  was  a  very  great  admirer  of  him  though  he 
had  never  seen  him,  knowing  from  his  very  language  who  he  was, 
received  him  with  the  greatest  pleasure  into  his  house,  and  furnished 
him  with  clothes,  money,  and  attendants.  The  others  meanwhile  were 
carrying  about  their  pictures,  begging  for  victuals.  Simonides  chanced 
to  meet  them;  and,  as  soon  as  he  saw  them,  remarked:  "I  told  you 
that  all  my  property  was  about  me;  what  you  have  endeavored  to  save 
is  lost." 


PETRONIUS 

(Died  66  A.D.)  * 

GAIUS  PETRONIUS  ARBITER  was  born  some  time  early  during  the 
First  Century  of  the  Christian  era,  and  committed  suicide  in  the 
year  66.  Writer,  government  official,  dilettante  and  friend  of  Nero, 
he  "had  idled  into  fame,"  as  Tacitus  tells  us.  His  best-known  wo§k, 
The  Satyricon,  is  a  strange  straggling  sort  of  satirical  novel,  into 
which  he  introduced  this  short  masterpiece,  The  Matron  of 
Efhesus.  The  tale  is  supposed  to  be  in  the  manner  of  one  of  the 
so-called  lost  Milesian  Tales,  a  collection  renowned  for  its  cynical 
outlook  on  humanity  in  general  and  woman  in  particular.  This 
brief  story  (in  one  form  or  another)  is  to  be  found  running  through 
all  literature,  especially  the  literature  written  by  men. 

The  present  version  is  a  revision  (by  the  editors)  of  two  older 
versions. 


THE  MATRON  OF  EPHESUS 
(From  The  Satyricon) 

A  CERTAIN  matron  of  Ephesus  was  so  notably  pure  that  women 
JL\.  came  from  afar  to  look  upon  her.  When  her  husband  was  buried, 
she  was  not  satisfied  with  the  usual  custom  of  following  the  body  with 
loosened  hair  and  beating  her  breast  in  the  presence  of  the  people:  she 
accompanied  her  dead  spouse  right  into  the  sepulcher — which  was  in  the 
Greek  style,  underground— and  there  remained  to  watch  and  weep  by 
day  and  by  night.  Her  parents  and  relations  were  unable  t6  prevent  her 


ANCIENT  ROME— PETRONIUS  45 

£rom  thus  torturing  herself,  and  remaining  in  the  sepulcher  to  die  of 
hunger.  The  civil  officials  at  last  left  in  despair. 

The  matron  lived  through  the  fifth  day  without  caring,  and  was 
grieved  for  by  all  as  a  shining  example  to  all  womenkind.  A  faithful 
maidservant  sat  by  the  wretched  woman,  shed  the  appropriate  number 
of  tears,  and  kept  the  lamp  burning. 

Word  spread  through  the  city,  and  every  one  agreed  that  it  was  a 
unique  example  of  conjugal  love  and  fidelity. 

Meantime,  the  provincial  governor  crucified  certain  thieves  near  the 
sepulcher  where  the  matron  was  weeping  over  the  body  of  her  late  hus- 
band, and  a  soldier  was  commanded  to  keep  guard  over  the  crosses,  to 
prevent  the  bodies  from  being  taken  down  and  buried.  The  following 
night  he  perceived  a  light  shining  brightly  among  the  trees  and  heard  the 
moans  of  the  woman.  Like  all  human  beings,  he  was  curious,  and  desired 
to  know  who  was  groaning,  and  what  was  the  cause  of  it.  He  therefore 
entered  the  sepulcher,  and  on  seeing  a  beautiful  woman,  stopped  short 
and  was  as  deeply  moved  as  though  he  had  seen  an  omen  or  a  ghost  from 
the  ijpther  world.  The  moment  he  set  eyes  on  the  body  and  remarked 
the  matron's  tears,  and  her  face  scarred  by  the  marks  of  fingernails,  he 
understood:  she  was  desperate  in  her  love  for  the  man  who  was  dead. 
He  then  brought  his  frugal  supper  into  the  sepulcher,  and  begged  the 
matron  not  to  give  way  so  to  a  grief  that  was  useless,  nor  break  her  heart 
in  weepfng.  All  men,  he  said,  had  the  same   fate  and  the  same  last 
resting-place.  But  she  was  ill-pleased  by  such  commonplace  consolation, 
and  smote  her  breast  more  violently  than  ever,  tearing  out  her  hair  and 
throwing  it  upon  the  body  before  her.  Still,  the  young  soldier  did  not 
leave.  He  tried  to  give  the  woman  food.  Though  she  resisted,  her  maid- 
servant was  won  over  by  the  smell  of  the  wine,  and  stretched  out  her 
hand  for  the  supper  that  was  offered  her.  After  she  was  fortified  by  food 
and  drink,  she  strove  to  win  over  her  mistress.  "How,"  she  asked,  "will 
you  be  benefited,  if  you  starve  to  death  and  bury  yourself  alive,  dying 
before   Destiny  has  demanded  your  soul?    Do  you  imagine  that  your 
mourning  can  be  acceptable  to  the  body  or  the  soul  of  a  man  who  is 
dead  and  buried?   Why  not  rather  begin  your  life  anew?    Why  not 
forget  this  misguided  fidelity — adhered  to  only  by  women — and  enjoy 
the  daylight  as  long  as  the  gods  allow?  This  cold  body  ought  to  be  a 
warning  to  you  to  enjoy  life  to  the  utmost." 

Now,  generally,  one  gives  heed  when  one  is  asked  to  eat  food  or  to 
live,  and  the  matron  was  both  hungry  and  thirsty  after  five  days*  fasting; 
she  allowed  her  resolution  to  be  broken.  She  ate  as  greedily  as  the  maid-  • 
servant  had  eaten.  Those  who  are  well-fed  are  easily  tempted,  and  the 
soldier  set  about  to  conquer  the  matron's  virtue,  by  the  same  pleasant  and 
persuasive  means  he  had  used  before.  The  chaste  matron  perceived  that 
he  was  an  attractive  young  man,  and  by  no  means  a  fooL  The  maid- 

—    •*     %t  A  nl  i 


46  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

servant  was  sympathetic,  and  quoted  the  words,  "Do  you  seek  to  struggle 
against  a  passion  that  is  pleasing  to  you?  Do  you  not  remember  in  whose 
country  you  are?" 

To  make  a  long  story  short,  having  overcome  certain  of  the  matron*s 
scruples,  the  soldier  succeeded  in  overcoming  her  remaining  scruples. 

They  were  together  not  only  on  that  first  night,  but  on  the  second  and 
the  third.  The  gates  of  the  sepulcher  were  closed,  so  that  if  any  friend 
or  stranger  had  come,  he  would  have  imagined  that  the  very  virtuous 
woman  had  died  in  the  presence  of  her  husband's  body.  The  soldier  was 
greatly  pleased  by  the  matron's  charms,  and  with  their  uninterrupted 
love;  he  bought  such  delicate  viands  as  his  pay  would  permit,  and  brought 
them  to  the  sepulcher  when  darkness  came. 

The  parents  of  one  of  the  thieves  who  had  been  crucified,  perceiving 
that  the  soldier  was  not  strictly  guarding  the  crosses,  took  down  the  body 
of  their  son  and  buried  it.  Next  morning,  seeing  the  body  gone,  the 
soldier  knew  what  his  punishment  would  be,  and  went  and  told  the 
woman.  He  would,  he  declared,  kill  himself  with  his  sword  rather  than 
be  sentenced  by  a  military  court,  and  told  her  to  make  room  for  her 
lover  to  lie  beside  her  late  husband.  But  the  lady  was  as  compassionate 
as  she  was  pure.  "May  the  gods  forbid,"  said  she,  "that  I  should  lay  eyes 
at  one  time  on  the  corpses  of  the  two  men  who  are  dearest  to  me!  It 
were  better  to  hang  up  a  dead  body  than  to  kill  a  breathing  man."  And 
therewith  she  told  the  soldier  to  take  the  husband's  body  from  *ts  place 
and  put  it  upon  the  cross  that  was  vacant.  The  soldier  at  once  acted 
upon  the  matron's  clever  suggestion,  and  the  next  day  people  wondered 
how  the  dead  man  had  been  able  to  crucify  himself. 


PLINY  THE  YOUNGER 

(62-113    A.D.) 

THE  Letters  of  Pliny  the  Younger  (known  in  Latin  as  C.  Flinius 
Cxcilius  Secundus)  give  a  pleasant  and  varied  picture  of  Roman 
life  at  a  time  when  the  satirists  were  depicting  it  in  lurid  hues. 
Pliny  was  a  gentleman  of  refinement  who  found  time,  in  spite 
of  his  career  as  a  lawyer  and  a  high  government  official,  to  write 
many  letters  to  his  friends,  with  a  view,  as  we  happen  to  know, 
to  publication.  Several  of  these  letters  are  neither  more  nor  less  than 
abort  stories.  The  Haunted  House  is  simply  the  recital  of  an  inci- 
dent in  a  letter  to  his  friend  Sura,  and  is  one  of  the  best  of  the 
ancient  ghost  stories.  Needless  to  say,  it  is  a  type  that  has  been  used 
time  and  again. 

The  text  is  from  an  early  English  translation,  and  comprises 
Lttter  *y  of  the  Seventh  Book*  There  is  no  title  in  the  original. 


ANCIENT  ROME—PLINY  THE  YOUNGER  47 

THE  HAUNTED  HOUSE 
(Letter  to  Sura,  Book  VII) 

THERE  was  at  Athens  a  mansion,  spacious  and  commodious,  but  of 
evil  repute  and  dangerous  to  health.  In  the  dead  of  night  there  was 
a  noise  as  of  iron,  and,  if  you  listened  more  closely,  a  clanking  of  chains 
was  heard,  first  of  all  from  a  distance,  and  afterwards  hard  by.  Pres- 
ently a  specter  used  to  appear,  an  ancient  man  sinking  with  emaciation 
and  squalor,  with  a  long  beard  and  bristly  hair,  wearing  shackles. on  his 
legs  and  fetters  on  his  hands,  and  shaking  them.  Hence  the  inmates,  by 
reason  of  their  fears,  passed  miserable  and  horrible  nights  in  sleepless- 
ness. This  want  of  sleep  was  followed  by  disease,  and,  their  terrors  in- 
creasing, by  death.  For  in  the  daytime  as  well,  though  the  apparition  had 
departed,  yet  a  reminiscence  of  it  flitted  before  their  eyes,  and  their  dread 
outlived  its  cause.  The  mansion  was  accordingly  deserted  and,  con- 
demited  to  solitude,  was  entirely  abandoned  to  the  dreadful  ghost.  How- 
ever, it  was  advertised,  on  the  chance  of  some  one,  ignorant  of  the  fear- 
ful curse  attached  to  it,  being  willing  to  buy  or  to  rent  it.  Athenodorus 
the  philosopher  came  to  Athens  and  read  the  advertisement.  When  he 
had  beep  informed  of  the  terms,  which  were  so  low  as  to  appear  sus- 
picious, he  made  inquiries,  and  learned  the  whole  of  the  particulars.  Yet 
none  the  less  on  that  account,  nay,  all  the  more  readily,  did  he  rent  the 
house.  As  evening  began  to  draw  on,  he  ordered  a  sofa  to  be  set  for 
himself  in  the  front  part  of  the  house,  and  called  for  his  notebooks, 
writing  implements,  and  a  light.  All  his  servants  he  dismissed  to  the 
interior  apartments,  and  for  himself  applied  his  soul,  eyes,  and  hand 
to  composition,  that  his  mind  might  not,  from  want  of  occupation, 
picture  to  itself  the  phantoms  of  which  he  had  heard,  or  any  empty 
terrors.  At  the  commencement  there  was  the  universal  silence  of  night. 
Soon  the  shaking  of  irons  and  the  clanking  of  chains  was  heard,  yet  he 
never  raised  his  eyes  nor  slackened  his  pen,  but  hardened  his  soul  and 
deadened  his  ears  by  its  help.  The  noise  grew  and  approached:  now  it 
seemed  to  be  heard  at  the  door,  and  next  inside  the  door.  He  looked 
round,  beheld  and  recognized  the  figure  he  had  been  told  of.  It  was 
standing  and  signaling  to  him  with  its  finger,  as  though  inviting  him. 
He,  in  reply,  made  a  sign  with  his  hand  that  it  should  wait  a  moment, 
and  applied  himself  afresh  to  his  tablets  and  pen.  Upon  this  the  figure 
kept  rattling  its  chains  over  his  head  as  he  wrote.  On  looking  round 
again,  he  saw  it  making  the  same  signal  as  before,  and  without  delay 
took  up  a  light  and  followed  it.  It  moved  with  a  slow  step,  as  though 
oppressed  by  its  chains,  and,  after  turning  into  the  courtyard  of  the 
house,  vanished  suddenly  and  left  his  company.  On  being  thus  left  to 


48  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

himself,  he  marked  the  spot  with  some  grass  and  leaves  which  he  plucked. 
Next  day  he  applied  to  the  magistrates,  and  urged  them  to  have  the  spot 
in  question  dug  up.  There  were  found  there  some  bones  attached  to  and 
intermingled  with  fetters;  the  body  to  which  they  had  belonged,  rottecl 
away  by  time  and  the  soil,  had  abandoned  them  thus  naked  and  corroded 
to  die  chains.  They  were  collected  and  interred  at  the  public  expense, 
and  the  house  was  ever  afterwards  free  from  the  spirit,  which  had  ob- 
tained due  sepulture. 

The  above  story  I  believe  on  the  strength  of  those  who  affirm  it. 
What  follows  I  am  myself  in  a  position  to  affirm  to  others.  I  have  a 
freedman,  who  is  not  without  some  knowledge  of  letters.  A  younger 
brother  of  his  was  sleeping  with  him  in  the  same  bed.  The  latter  dreamed 
he  saw  some  one  sitting  on  the  couch,  who  approached  a  pair  of  scissors 
to  his  head,  and  even  cut  the  hair  from  the  crown  of  it.  When  day 
dawned  he  was  found  to  be  cropped  round  the  crown,  and  his  locks  were 
discovered  lying  about.  A  very  short  time  afterwards  a  fresh  occurrence 
of  the  same  kind  confirmed  the  truth  of  the  former  one.  A  lad  of  mine 
was  sleeping,  in  company  with  several  others,  in  the  pages'  apartment. 
There  came  through  the  windows  (so  he  tells  the  story)  two  figures  in 
white  tunics,  who  cut  his  hair  as  he  lay,  and  departed  the  way  they  came. 
In  his  case,  too,  daylight  exhibited  him  shorn,  and  his  locks  scattered 
around.  Nothing  remarkable  followed,  except,  perhaps,  this,  that  I  was 
not  brought  under  accusation,  as  I  should  have  been,  if  DomiTian  (in 
whose  reign  these  events  happened)  had  lived  longer.  For  in  his  desk 
was  found  an  information  against  me  which  had  been  presented  by 
Carus;  from  which  circumstance  it  may  be  conjectured — inasmuch  as  it 
is  the  custom  of  accused  persons  to  let  their  hair  grow — that  the  cutting 
off  of  my  slaves'  hair  was  a  sign  of  the  danger  which  threatened  me 
being  averted. 

I  beg,  then,  that  you  will  apply  your  great  learning  to  this  subject. 
The  matter  is  one  which  deserves  long  and  deep  consideration  on  your 
part;  nor  am  I,  for  my  part,  undeserving  of  having  the  fruits  of  your 
wisdom  imparted  to  me.  You  may  even  argue  on  both  sides  (as  your 
way  is),  provided  you  argue  more  forcibly  on  one  side  than  the  other, 
so  as  not  to  dismiss  me  in  suspense  and  anxiety,  when  the  very  cause  of 
my  consulting  you  has  been  to  have  my  doubts  ended. 


APULEIUS 

(Born  ca.  125  A.D.) 

Lucius  APULEIUS,  author  of  The  Golden  Ass,  was  born  and  edu- 
cated in  northern  Africa.  He  practised  law,  WM  an  indefatigable 


ANCIENT  ROME— APULEIUS  49 

traveller,  a  ceaseless  investigator  into  religious  ceremonies  and  0171* 
tcrics,  and  a  writer  of  considerable  skill  and  imagination.  Many 
stories,  including  Cufid  and  Psyche  and  The  Dream,  are  intro- 
duced into  the  rambling  narrative  of  his 'celebrated  romance.  Like 
many  other  literary  men,  he  was  publicly  accused  of  writing  inde- 
cent literature.  Like  Pliny's  Haunted  House,  The  Dream  is  one 
of  those  lurid  ghost-stories  which  apparently  pleased  the  readers  of 
the  early  Christian  era.  They  continue  to  do  so. 

The  present  text  is  a  modernized  version  of  the  classic  transla- 
tion by  Adi  ing  ton,  which  first  appeared  in  1566.  There  is  no  tide 
in  the  original. 


THE  DREAM 
(From  The  Golden  Ass) 

9 

BUT  I  could  in  no  wise  sleep  for  the  great  fear  which  was  in  my 
heart,  until  it  was  about  midnight,  and  then  I  began  to  slumber. 
But,  alas!  behold  suddenly  the  chamber  doors  broke  open,  and  locks, 
bolts,  and.posts  fell  down,  that  you  would  verily  have  thought  that  some 
thieves  had  presently  come  to  have  spoiled  and  robbed  us.  And  my  bed 
whereon  I  lay,  being  a  truckle-bed,  fashioned  in  the  form  of  a  cradle, 
and  one  of  the  feet  broken  and  rotten,  by  violence  was  turned  upside 
down,  and  I  likewise  was  overwhelmed  and  covered  lying  in  the  same. 
And  while  I  lay  on  the  ground  covered  in  this  sort,  I  peeped  under  the 
bed  to  see  what  would  happen.  And  behold  there  entered  in  two  old 
women,  the  one  bearing  a  burning  torch,  and  the  other  a  sponge  and  a 
naked  sword;  and  so  in  this  habit  they  stood  about,  Socrates  being  fast 
asleep.  Then  she  which  bare  the  sword  said  unto  the  other,  "Behold, 
sister  Panthia,  this  is  my  dear  and  sweet  heart,  this  is  he  who  little 
regarding  my  love,  doth  not  only  defame  me  with  reproachful  words, 
but  also  intendeth  to  run  away."  Which  said,  she  pointed  toward  me  that 
lay  under  the  bed,  and  showed  me  to  Panthia.  "This  is  he,"  quoth  she, 
"which  is  his  counselor,  and  persuadeth  him  to  forsake  me,  and  now 
being  at  the  point  of  death,  he  lieth  prostrate  on  the  ground  covered  with 
his  bed,  and  hath  seen  all  our  doings,  and  hopeth  to  escape  scot-free  from 
my  hands;  but  I  will  cause  that  he  shall  repent  himself  too  late,  nay 
rather  forthwith,  of  his  former  intemperate  language,  and  his  present 
curiosity."  Which  words  when  I  heard,  I  fell  into  a  cold  sweat,  and  my 
heart  trembled  with  fear,  insomuch  that  the  bed  over  me  did  likewise 
ratde  and  shake.  Then  spake  Panthia  unto  Mcroe  and  said,  "Sister,  let 
us  by  and  by  tear  him  in  pieces."  Then  Meroe  answered,  "Nay,  rather 


SO  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

let  him  live,  and  bury  the  corpse  of  this  poor  wretch  in  some  hole  of 
the  earth"  5  and  therewithal  she  turned  up  the  head  of  Socrates  on  the 
other  side,  and  thrust  her  sword  up  to  the  hilt  into  the  left  part  of  his 
neck,  and  received  the  blood  that  gushed  out,  into  a  pot,  that  no  cfrop 
thereof  fell  beside:  which  things  I  saw  with  mine  own  eyes;  and  as  I 
think  to  the  intent  that  she  might  alter  nothing  that  pertained  to  sacri- 
fice, which  she  accustomed  to  make,  she  thrust  her  hand  down  into  the 
internals  of  his  body,  and  searching  about  at  length  brought  forth  the 
heart  of  my  miserable  companion,  Socrates,  who  having  his  throat  cut 
in  such  sort,  yielded  out  a  dreadful  cry  and  gave  up  the  ghost.  Then 
Panthia  stopped  the  wide  wound  of  his  throat  with  the  sponge,  and  said, 
"O  sponge,  sprung  and  made  of  the  sea,  beware  that  thou  pass  not  by 
running  river."  When  this  was  ended,  they  went  their  ways,  and  the 
doors  closed  fast,  the  posts  stood  in  their  old  places,  and  the  locks  and 
bolts  were  shut  again.  But  I  that  lay  upon  the  ground  like  one  without 
soul,  naked  and  cold,  like  to  one  that  were  more  than  half  dead,  yet 
reviving  myself,  and  appointed  as  I  thought  for  the  gallows,  began  to 
say,  "Alas!  what  shall  become  of  me  to-morrow,  when  my  companion 
shall  be  found  murdered  here  in  the  chamber?  To  whom  shall  I  seem 
to  tell  any  similitude  of  truth,  whenas  I  shall  tell  the  truth  indeed? 
They  will  say,  'If  thou  wert  unable  to  resist  the  violence  of  the  women, 
yet  shouldst  thou  have  cried  for  help:  wouldst  thou  suffer  the  man  to 
be  slain  before  thy  face  and  say  nothing?  Or  why  did  they  nA  slay  thee 
likewise?  why  did  they  spare  thee  that  stood  by, and  saw  them  commit 
that  horrible  fact?  Wherefore  although  thou  hast  escaped  their  hands, 
yet  thou  shalt  not  escape  ours.' "  While  I  pondered  these  things  with 
myself  the  night  passed  on,  and  so  I  resolved  to  take  my  horse  before 
day,  and  go  forward  on  my  journey. 

Howbeit  the  ways  were  unknown  to  me :  and  thereupon  I  took  up  my 
packet,  unlocked  and  unbarred  the  doors,  but  those  good  and  faithful 
doors,  which  in  the  night  did  open  of  their  own  accord,  could  then 
scantly  be  opened  with  their  keys.  And  when  I  was  out  I  cried,  "O  sirrah 
hostler,  where  art  thou?  Open  the  stable-door,  for  I  will  ride  away  by 
and  by."  The  hostler  lying  behind  the  stable-door  upon  a  pallet  and  half 
asleep,  "What  (quoth  he),  do  you  not  know  that  the  ways  be  very  dan- 
gerous? what  mean  you  to  rise  at  this  time  of  night?  If  you,  perhaps 
guilty  of  some  heinous  crime,  be  weary  of  your  life,  yet  think  you  not 
that  we  are  such  sots  that  we  will  die  for  you."  Then  said  I,  "It  is  well- 
nigh  day,  and  moreover,  what  can  thieves  take  from  him  that  hath 
nothing?  Dost  thou  not  know,  fool  as  thou  art,  if  thou  be  naked,  if  ten 
giants  should  assail  thee,  they  could  not  spoil  or  rob  thee?"  Whereunto 
the  drowsy  hostler,  half  asleep  and  turning  on  the  other  side,  answered, 
"What  know  I  whether  you  have  murdered  your  companion  whom  you 
brought  in  yesternight  or  no,  and  now  seek  the  means  to  escape  away?" 


ANCIENT  ROME— APULEIUS  51 

0  Lord,  at  that  time,  I  remember,  the  earth  seemed  to  open,  and  me- 
thought  I  saw  at  hellgate  the  dog  Cerberus  ready  to  devour  me;  and 
then  I  verily  believed  that  Meroe  did  not  spare  my  throat  moved  with 
pity,  but  rather  cruelly  pardoned  me  to  bring  me  to  the  gallows.  Where- 
fore I  returned  to  my  chamber,  and  there  devised  with  myself  in  what 
sort  I  should  finish  my  life.  And  therewithal  I  pulled  out  a  piece  of 
rope  wherewith  the  bed  was  corded,  and  tied  one  end  thereof  about  a 
rafter  by  the  window,  and  with  the  other  end  I  made  a  sliding  knot, 
and  stood  upon  my  bed,  and  so  put  my  neck  into  it,  and  when  I  leaped 
from  the  bed  thinking  verily  to  strangle  myself  and  so  die,  behold  the 
rope,  being  old  and  rotten,  burst  in  the  middle,  and  I  fell  down  tumbling 
upon  Socrates  that  lay  under:  and  even  at  that  same  very  time  the  hostler 
came  in  crying  with  a  loud  voice  and  said,  "Where  are  you  that  made 
such  haste  at  midnight,  and  now  lies  wallowing  abed?'9  Whereupon  (I 
know  not  whether  it  was  by  my  fall,  or  by  the  great  cry  of  the  hostler) 
Socrates  as  waking  out  of  a  sleep,  did  rise  up  first  and  said,  "It  is  not 
without  cause  that  strangers  do  speak  evil  of  all.  such  hostlers,  for  this 
caitiff  in  his  coming  in,  and  with  his  crying  out,  I  think  under  a  color 
to  steaf  away  something,  has  waked  me  out  of  a  sound  sleep."  Then  I 
rose  up,  joyful  with  a  merry  countenance,  saying,  "Behold,  good  hostler, 
my  friend,  my  companion  and  my  brother  whom  thou  didst  falsely 
affirm  to  be  slain  by  me  this  night.  And  therewithal  I  embraced  my 
friend  Socrates  and  kissed  him,  and  took  him  by  the  hand  and  said,  "Why 
tarry  we?  Why  lose  we  the  pleasure  of  this  fair  morning?  let  us  go": 
and  so  I  took  up  my  packet,  and  paid  the  charges  of  the  house  and 
departed. 

And  we  had  not  gone  a  mile  out  of  the  town  but  it  was  broad  day, 
and  then  I  diligently  looked  upon  Socrates'  throat  to  see  if  I  could  espy 
the  place  where  Meroe  thrust  in  her  sword;  but  when  I  could  not  per- 
ceive any  such  thing,  I  thought  with  myself,  What  a  madman  am  I, 
that  being  overcome  with  wine  yesternight  have  dreamed  such  terrible 
things!  behold,  I  see  Socrates  is  sound,  safe  and  in  health.  Where  is  his 
wound?  where  is  the  sponge?  where  is  his  great  and  new  cut?  And  then 

1  spake  to  him  and  said,  "Verily  it  is  not  without  occasion  that  physicians 
of  experience  do  affirm,  that  such  as  fill  their  gorges  abundantly  with 
meat  and  drink  shall  dream  of  dire  and  horrible  sights:  for  I  myself, 
not  tempering  my  appetite  yesternight  from*  pots  of  wine,  did  seem  to 
see  this  night  strange  and  cruel  visions,  that  even  yet  I  think  myself 
sprinkled  and  wet  with  human  blood."  Whereunto  Socrates  laughing 
made  answer,  "Nay  verily,  I  myself  dreamed  this  night  that  my  throat 
was  cut,  and  that  I  felt  the  pain  of  the  wound,  and  that  my  heart  was 
pulled  out  of  my  belly,  and  the  remembrance  thereof  makes  me  now  to 
fear,  for  my  knees  do  so  tremble  that  I  can  scarce  go  any  further;  and 
therefore  I  would  fain  eat  somewhat  to  strengthen  and  revive  my  spirits." 


5*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

Then  said  I,  "Behold  here  thy  breakfast";  and  therewithal  I  opened 
my  scrip  that  hanged  upon  my  shoulder,  and  gave  him  bread  and  cheese, 
and  we  sat  down  under  a  great  plane  tree,  and  I  ate  part  with  him.  And 
while  I  beheld  him  eating  greedily,  I  perceived  that  he  waxed  meager 
and  pale,  and  that  his  lively  color  faded  away,  insomuch  that  being  in 
great  fear,  and  remembering  those  terrible  furies  of  whom  I  lately 
dreamed,  die  first  morsel  of  bread  that  I  put  in  my  mouth  (which  was 
but  very  small)  did  so  stick  in  my  jaws,  that  I  could  neither  swallow  it 
down,  nor  yet  yield  it  up,  and  fiioreover  the  small  time  of  our  being 
together  increased  my  fear:  and  what  is  he  that  seeing  his  companion 
die  in  the  highway  before  his  face,  would  not  greatly  lament  and  be 
sorry?  But  when  that  Socrates  had  eaten  sufficiently,  he  waxed  very 
thirsty,  for  indeed  he  had  well-nigh  devoured  all  a  whole  cheese:  and 
behold  evil  fortune!  there  was  behind  the  plane  tree  a  pleasant  running 
water  as  clear  as  crystal,  and  I  said  unto  him,  "Come  hither,  Socrates, 
to  this  water  and  drink  thy  fill."  And  then  he  rose  and  came  to  the  river, 
and  kneeled  down  upon  the  side  of  the  bank  to  drink;  but  he  had  scarce 
touched  the  water  with  his  lips,  whenas  behold  the  wound  of  his  throat 
opened  wide,  and  the  sponge  suddenly  fell  into  the  water,  and  after 
issued  out  a  little  remnant  of  blood,  and  his  body  being  then  without 
life,  had  fallen  into  the  river,  had  I  not  caught  him  by  the  leg  and  so 
pulled  him  up.  And  after  that  I  had  lamented  a  good  space  the  death  of 
my  wretched  companion,  I  buried  him  in  the  sands  there  by  die  riven 


i 


Biblical   Literature 


INTRODUCTION 

>T  is  not  surprising  that  the  stories  scattered  so  profusely  through  the 
Bible,  the  Apocrypha,  and  the  Talmud,  should  be  mostly  moral  tales. 
They  were  told  in  order  to  illustrate  a  theological  or  ethical  contention 
or  law,  to  glorify  the  race  or  nation  to  which  the  teller  belonged,  to 
attract  and  hold  the  interest  of  the  listener.  All  of  them  were  related  by 
Jews,  yid  all,  even  the  parables  of  Jesus,  bear  the  imprint  of  the  Oriental 
imagination.  The  stories  of  Ruth  and  Susanna,  from  the  Old  Testament 
and  the  Apocrypha,  are  the  earliest  examples  in  this  little  group  of  Biblical 
tales.  Ruth  is  the  type  of  story  that  could  easily  be  expanded  into  a  novel, 
while  Susanna  conforms  more  exactly  to  the  modern  conception  of  what 
a  short  si'3ry  ought  to  be.  These  two  have  been  chosen  from  a  great 
storehouse  of  prose  narrative,  which  was  designed  in  the  first  place  to 
appeal  to  simple-minded  shepherds  and  tradespeople. 

In  the  New  Testament  we  find  among  many  other  beautiful  stories 
the  parables.  These  are  in  reality  fables,  told  by  Jesus  for  exactly  the 
same  reason  that  the  fables  of  ^Esop  or  of  Phsedrus  were  told,  to  drive 
home  a  moral  lesson.  If  Jesus  spoke  his  parables  exactly  as  they  are  writ- 
ten, he  must  be  accounted  one  of  the  world's  greatest  artists.  The  Prod" 
I  gal  Son  is  a  perfect  model  of  the  short  story.  The  other  tale  included 
here,  The  Raising  of  Lazarus,  though  somewhat  longer  and  more  diffuse, 
is  no  less  perfect. 

The  Talmud,  which  is  the  orthodox  Jewish  commentary  on  the  Old 
Testament,  bristles  with  short  moral  tales.  To  develop  the  art  of  the 
Jewish  short  story  would  necessitate  tracing  it  from  the  earliest  chapters 
of  the  Old  Testament,  through  The  Talmud,  with  all  its  accumulation 
of  commentary  upon  commentary,  through  a  long  period  of  oral  tradi- 
tion, up  to  modern  times.  There  are  still  sporadic  writers  in  the  Hebrew 
language,  though  for  the  most  part  the  modern  Jewish  writers  (when 
they  have  not,  like  Israel  Zangwill,  written  in  the  language  of  the  coun- 
try of  their  adoption)  have  employed  the  modern  Yiddish  dialect. 

The  literature  of  the  New  Testament  (which  was  written  in  late\ 
Greek)  is  difficult  to  classify.  It  is  Jewish,  of  course,  but  permeated  ity 

S3 


54  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

a  distinctly  non-Hebraic  spirit.  The  influence  exerted  by  the  narratives 
of  the  New  Testament  has  been  enormous,  but  it  is  rather  religious  and 
theological  than  artistic.  The  spirit  of  this  literature  has  penetrated  the 
thought,  life,  habits,  and  art  of  the  entire  Occidental  world.  • 


THE  BOOK  OF  RUTH 

(From  the  Old  Testament) 

INTO  the  extremely  complicated  questions  of  authorship,  origin, 
and  development  of  the  Old  Testament  it  is  not  necessary  to  enter* 
Ruth  is  one  of  the  most  beautifully  conceived  and  finely  written 
narratives  of  all  Biblical  literature.  Although  it  has  its  place  in 
the  ethical  scheme  of  the  Old  Testament,  it  seems  to  have  been 
written  with  an  artistic  zest  and  freedom  from  constraint  that  are 
rare  in  the  religious  literature  of  any  race. 

The  text  used  here  is  that  printed  in  Volume  IV  of  Ancient 
Hebrew  Literature,  in  Everyman's  Library,  published  in  1907  by 
J.  M.  Dent  and  Sons,  by  whose  permission  it  is  here  included.  (The 
last  sentence  has  been  omitted,  as  it  has  nothing  to  do  with  the 
story.) 


THE  BOOK  OF  RUTH 

rOW  if  came  to  pass  in  the  days  when  the  judges  ruled,  that  there 
was  a  famine  in  the  land.  And  a  certain  man  of  Beth-lehem- 
judah  went  to  sojourn  in  the  country  of  Moab,  he,  and  his  wife,  and  his 
two  sons.  And  the  name  of  the  man  was  Elimelech,  and  the  name  of  his 
5vife  Naomi,  and  the  name  of  his  two  sons  Mahlon  and  Chilion,  Ephra- 
thites  of  Beth-lehem-judah.  And  they  came  into  the  country  of  Moab, 
and  continued  there. 

And  Elimelech  Naomi's  husband  died;  and  she  was  left,  and  her  two 
sons.  And  they  took  them  wives  of  the  women  of  Moab;  the  name  of  the 
one  was  Orpah,  and  the  name  of  the  other  Ruth:  and  they  dwelled  there 
about  ten  years.  And  Mahlon  and  Chilion  died  also  both  of  them;  and 
the  woman  was  left  of  her  two  sons  and  her  husband. 

Then  she  arose  with  her  daughters-in-law,  that  she  might  return  from 
the  country  of  Moab:  for  she  had  heard  in  the  country  of  Moab  how  that 
the  Lord  had  visited  His  people  in  giving  them  bread.  Wherefore  she 
went  forth  out  of  the  place  where  she  was,  and  her  two  daughters-in-law 
with  her;  and  they  went  on  the  way  to  return  unto  the  land  of  Judah. 
'And  Naomi  aaid  unto  her  two  daughters-in-law: — "Go,  return  each  to 


BIBLICAL  LITERATURE  5$ 

her  mother's  house:  the  Lord  deal  kindly  with  you,  as  ye  have  dealt  with 
the  dead,  and  with  me.  The  Lord  grant  you  that  ye  may  find  rest,  each 
of  you  in  the  house  of  her  husband."  Then  she  kissed  them;  and  they 
lifted  up  their  voice,  and  wept.  And  they  said  unto  her: — "Surely  we 
will  return  with  thee  unto  thy  people." 

And  Naomi  said: — "Turn  again,  my  daughters:  why  will  ye  go  with 
me?  are  there  yet  any  more  sons  in  my  womb,  that  they  may  be  your 
husbands?  Turn  again,  my  daughters,  go  your  way;  for  I  am  too  old  to 
have  an  husband.  If  I  should  say,  I  have  hope,  if  I  should  have  an  hus- 
band also  to-night,  and  should  also  bear  sons;  would  ye  tarry  for  them 
till  they  were  grown?  would  ye  stay  for  them  from  having  husbands? 
nay,  my  daughters;  for  it  grieveth  me  much  for  your  sakes  that  the  hand 
of  the  Lord  is  gone  out  against  me." 

And  they  lifted  up  their  voice,  and  wept  again:  and  Orpah  kissed  her 
mother-in-law;  but  Ruth  clave  unto  her.  And  she  said :— "Behold,  thy 
sister-in-law  is  gone  back  unto  her  people,  and  unto  her  gods:  return  them 
after  thy  sister-in-law."  And  Ruth  said: — "Intreat  me  not  to  leave  thee, 
or  to  jeturn  from  following  after  thee:  for  whither  thou  goest,  I  will 
go;  and  where  thou  lodgest,  I  will  lodge:  thy  people  shall  be  my  people, 
and  thy  God  my  God:  where  thou  diest,  will  I  die,  and  there  will  I  be 
buried:  the  Lord  do  so  to  me,  and  more  also,  if  ought  but  death  part  thee 
and  me." 

When  Ac  saw  that  she  was  steadfastly  minded  to  go  with  her,  then  she 
left  speaking  unto  her.  So  they  two  went  until  they  came  to  Beth-lehem. 
And  it  came  to  pass,  when  they  were  come  to  Beth-lehem,  that  all  the 
city  was  moved  about  them,  and  they  said:— "Is  this  Naomi?"  And  she 
said  unto  them: — "Call  me  not  Naomi,  call  me  Mara:  for  the  Almighty 
hath  dealt  very  bitterly  with  me.  I  went  out  full,  and  the  Lord  hath 
brought  me  home  again  empty:  why  then  call  ye  me  Nacmi,  seeing  the 
Lord  hath  testified  against  me,  and  the  Almighty  hath  afflicted  me?" 

So  Naomi  returned,  and  Ruth  the  Moabitess,  her  daughter-in-law, 
with  her,  which  returned  out  of  the  country  of  Moab:  and  they  came  to 
Beth-lehem  in  the  beginning  of  barley  harvest.  And  Naomi  had  a  kins- 
man of  her  husband's,  a  mighty  man  of  wealth,  of  the  family  of 
Elimelech;  and  his  name  was  Boaz.  And  Ruth  the  Moabitess  said  unto 
Naomi : — "Let  me  now  go  to  the  field,  and  glean  ears  of  corn  after  him 
in  whose  sight  I  shall  find  grace."  And  she  said  unto  her: — "Go,  my 
daughter."  And  she  went,  and  came,  and  gleaned  in  the  field  after  the 
reapers:  and  her  hap  was  to  light  on  a  part  of  the  field  belonging  unto 
Boaz,  who  was  of  the  kindred  of  Elimelech. 

And,  behold,  Boaz  came  from  Beth-lehem,  and  said  unto  the  reapei$: 
— "The  Lord  be  with  you."  And  they  answered  him: — "The  Lord  bless 
thee."  Then  said  Boaz  unto  his  servant  that  was  set  over  the  reapers: 
— "Whose  damsel  is  this?"  And  the  servant  that  was  set  over  the  reapers 


56  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

answered  and  said: — "It  is  the  Moabitish  damsel  that  came  back  with 
Naomi  out  of  the  country  of  Moab:  and  she  said,  I  pray  you,  let  me 
glean  and  gather  after  the  reapers  among  the  sheaves:  So  she  came,  and 
hath  continued  even  from  the  morning  until  now,  that  she  tarried  a  little 
in  the  house."  Then  said  Boaz  unto  Ruth: — "Hearest  thou  not,  my 
daughter?  Go  not  to  glean  in  another  field,  neither  go  from  hence,  but 
abide  here  fast  by  my  maidens:  let  thine  eyes  be  on  the  field  that  they 
do  reap,  and  go  thou  after  them:  have  I  not  charged  the  young  men 
that  they  shall  not  touch  thee?  and  when  thou  art  athirst,  go  unto  the 
vessels,  and  drink  of  that  which  the  young  men  have  drawn."  Then  she 
fell  on  her  face,  and  bowed  herself  to  the  ground,  and  said  unto  him: 
—"Why  have  I  found  grace  in  thine  eyes,  that  thou  shouldest  take 
knowledge  of  me,  seeing  I  am  a  stranger?"  And  Boaz  answered  and 
said  unto  her: — "It  hath  fully  been  shewed  me,  all  that  thou  hast  done 
unto  thy  mother-in-law  since  the  death  of  thine  husband:  and  how  thou 
hast  left  thy  father  and  thy  mother,  and  the  land  of  thy  nativity,  and 
art  come  unto  a  people  which  thou  knewcst  not  heretofore.  The  Lord 
recompense  thy  work,  and  a  full  reward  be  given  thee  of  the  Lcf d  God 
of  Israel,  under  whose  wings  thou  art  come  to  trust." 

Then  she  said: — "Let  me  find  favor  in  thy  sight,  my  lordj  for  that 
thou  hast  comforted  me,  and  for  that  thou  hast  spoken  friendly  unto  thine 
handmaid,  though  I  be  not  like  unto  one  of  thine  handmaidens."  And 
Boaz  said  unto  her: — "At  mealtime  come  thou  hither,  and  ?at  of  the 
bread,  and  dip  thy  morsel  in  the  vinegar."  And  she  sat  beside  the  reapers: 
and  he  reached  her  parched  corn,  and  she  did  eat,  and  was  sufficed,  and 
left.  And  when  she  was  risen  up  to  glean,  Boaz  commanded  his  young 
men,  saying 5— - "Let  her  glean  even  among  the  sheaves,  and  reproach  her 
not:  and  let  fall  also  some  of  the  handfuls  of  purpose  for  her,  and 
leave  them,  that  she  may  glean  them,  and  rebuke  her  not." 

So  she  gleaned  in  the  field  until  even,  and  beat  out  that  she  had  gleaned: 

rit  was  about  an  ephah  of  barley.  And  she  took  it  up,  and  went  into 
city:  and  her  mother-in-law  saw  what  she  had  gleaned:  and  she 
brought  forth,  and  gave  to  her  that  she  had  reserved  after  she  was  suf- 
ficed. And  her  mother-in-law  said  unto  her  >— "Where  hast  thou  gleaned 
to-day?  and  where  wroughtest  thou?  blessed  be  he  that  did  take  knowl- 
edge of  thee."  And  she  shewed  her  mother-in-law  with  whom  she  had 
Iwrought,  and  said  >— "The  man's  name  with  whom  I  wrought  to-day  is 
Boaz."  And  Naomi  said  unto  her  daughter-in-law: — "Blessed  be  he  of 
the  Lord,  who  hath  not  left  off  His  kindness  to  the  living  and  to  the 
dead."  And  Naomi  said  unto  her: — "The  man  is  near  of  kin  unto,  us, 
one  of  our  next  kinsmen."  And  Ruth  the  Moabitess  said: — "He  said  unto 
tne  also,  dThou  shalt  keep  fast  by  my  young  men,  until  they  have  ended 
fclt  mf  harvest."  And  Naomi  said  unto  Ruth  her  daughter-in-law  s— "It 
is  good,  my  daughter,  that  thou  go  out  with  his  maidens,  that  they  meet 


BIBLICAL  LITERATURE  57 

thee  not  in  any  other  field."  So  she  kept  fast  by  the  maidens  of  Boaz  to 
glean  unto  the  end  of  barley  harvest  and  of  wheat  harvest;  and  dwelt 
with  her  mother-in-law. 

Then  Naomi  her  mother-in-law  said  unto  her: — ''My  daughter,  shall 
I  not  seek  rest  for  thee,  that  it  may  be  well  with  thee?  And  now  is  not 
Boaz  of  our  kindred,  with  whose  maidens  thou  wast?  Behold,  he  win- 
noweth  barley  to-night  in  the  threshing-floor.  Wash  thyself  therefore, 
and  anoint  thee,  and  put  thy  raiment  upon  thee,  and  get  thee  down  to 
the  floor:  but  make  not  thyself  known  unto  the  man,  until  he  shall  have 
done  eating  and  drinking.  And  it  shall  be,  when  he  lieth  down,  that 
thou  shalt  mark  the  place  where  he  shall  lie,  and  thou  shalt  go  in,*  and 
uncover  his  feet,  and  lay  thee  down;  and  he  will  tell  thee  what  thou 
shalt  do."  And  she  said  unto  her: — "All  that  thou  sayest  unto  me  I 
will  do." 

And  she  went  down  unto  the  floor,  and  did  according  to  all  that  her 
mother-in-law  bade  her.  And  when  Boaz  had  eaten  and  drunk,  and  his 
heart  was  merry,  he  went  to  lie  down  at  the  end  of  the  heap  of  corn: 
and  she?  came  softly,  and  uncovered  his  feet,  and  laid  her  down.  And  it 
came  to  pass  at  midnight,  that  the  man  was  afraid,  and  turned  himself: 
and,  behold,  a  woman  lay  at  his  feet.  And  he  said: — "Who  art  thou?" 
And  she  answered:— "I  am  Ruth  thine  handmaid:  spread  therefore  thy 
skirt  over  jhine  handmaid;  for  thou  art  a  near  kinsman."  And  he  said: 
— "Blessed  be  thou  of  the  Lord,  my  daughter:  for  thou  hast  shewed  more 
kindness  in  the  latter  end  than  at  the  beginning,  inasmuch  as  thou  fol- 
lowedst  not  young  men,  whether  poor  or  rich.  And  now,  my  daughter, 
fear  not;  I  will  do  to  thee  all  that  thou  requirest:  forfeU  the  city  of  my 
people  doth  know  that  thou  art  a  virtuous  woman.  And  now  it  is  true 
that  I  am  thy  near  kinsman:  howbeit  there  is  a  kinsman  nearer  than  I. 
Tarry  this  night,  and  it  shall  be  in  the  morning,  that  if  he  will  perform 
unto  thee  the  part  of  a  kinsman,  well;  let  him  do  the  kinsman's  part:  bu& 
if  he  will  not  do  the  part  of  a  kinsman  to  thee,  then  will  I  do  the  parr 
of  a  kinsman  to  thee,  as  the  Lord  liveth:  lie  down  until  the  morning." 

And  she  lay  at  his  feet  until  the  morning:  and  she  rose  up  before  one 
could  know  another.  And  he  said: — "Let  it  not  be  known  that  a  woman 
came  into  the  floor."  Also  he  said: — "Bring  the  vail  that  thou  hast  upon 
thee,  and  hold  it."  And  when  she  held  it,  he  measured  six  measures  of 
barley,  and  laid  it  on  her:  and  she  went  into  the  city.  And  when  she  came 
to  her  mother-in-law,  she  said: — "Who  art  thou,  my  daughter?"  And 
she  told  her  all  that  the  man  had  done  to  her.  And  she  said:— "These 
six  measures  of  barley  gave  he  me;  for  he  said  to  me,  Go  not  empty  unto 
thy  mother-in-law."  Then  said  she: — "Sit  still,  my  daughter,  until  thou 
know  how  the  matter  will  fall:  for  the  man  will  not  be  in  rest,  until  he 
have  finished  the  thing  this  day."  ."'•.->• 

Then  went  Boaz  up  to  the  gate,  and  sat  him  down  there:  and,  behold, 


S8  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

the  kinsman  of  whom  Boaz  spake  came  by;  unto  whom  he  said:— "Ho, 
such  a  one!  turn  aside,  sit  down  here."  And  he  turned  aside,  and  sat 
down.  And  he  took  ten  men  of  the  elders  of  the  city,  and  said: — "Sit 
ye  down  here."  And  they  sat  down.  And  he  said  unto  the  kinsman: — 
"Naomi,  that  is  come  again  out  of  the  country  of  Moab,  selleth  a  parcel 
of  land,  which  was  our  brother  Elimelech's:  and  I  thought  to  advertise 
thee,  saying,  Buy  it  before  the  inhabitants,  and  before  the  elders  of  my 
people.  If  thou  wilt  redeem  it,  redeem  it:  but  if  thou  wilt  not  redeem  it, 
then  tell  me,  that  I  may  know:  for  there  is  none  to  redeem  it  beside 
thee;  and  I  am  after  thee."  And  he  said: — "I  will  redeem  it."  Then 
said  Boaz: — "What  day  thou  buyest  the  field  of  the  hand  of  Naomi,  thou 
must  buy  it  also  of  Ruth  the  Moabitess,  the  wife  of  the  dead,  to  raise 
up  the  name  of  the  dead  upon  his  inheritance."  And  the  kinsman  said: — 
"I  cannot  redeem  it  for  myself,  lest  I  mar  mine  own  inheritance:  redeem 
thou  my  right  to  thyself;  for  I  cannot  redeem  it."  Now  this  was  the 
manner  in  former  time  in  Israel  concerning  redeeming  and  concerning 
changing,  for  to  confirm  all  things;  a  man  plucked  off  his  shoe,  and 
gave  it  to  his  neighbor:  and  this  was  a  testimony  in  Israel.  Therefore 
the  kinsman  said  unto  Boaz  2— "Buy  it  for  thee."  So  he  drew  off  his 
shoe. 

And  Boaz  said  unto  the  elders,  and  unto  all  the  people:— -"Ye  are 
witnesses  this  day,  that  I  have  bought  all  that  was  Elimelech's,  and  all 
that  was  Chilion's  and  Mahlon's,  of  the  hand  of  Naomi.  Moreover, 
Ruth  the  Moabitess,  the  wife  of  Mahlon,  have  I  purchased  to  be  my 
wife,  to  raise  up  the  name  of  the  dead  upon  his  inheritance,  that  the 
name  of  the  deacfc  be  not  cut  off  from  among  his  brethren,  and  from 
the  gate  of  his  place:  ye  are  witnesses  this  day."  And  all  the  people  that 
were  in  the  gate,  and  the  elders,  said: — "We  are  witnesses.  The  Lord 
make  the  woman  that  is  come  into  thine  house  like  Rachel  and  like 
.,  which  two  did  build  the  house  of  Israel:  and  do  thou  worthily  in 
Iphratah,  and  be  famous  in  Beth-lehem:  and  let  thy  house  be  like  the 
house  of  Pharez,  whom  Tamar  bare  Unto  Judah,  of  the  seed  which  the 
Lord  shall  give  thee  of  this  young  woman." 

So  Boaz  took  Ruth,  and  she  was  his  wife:  and  when  he  went  in  unto 
her,  the  Lord  gave  her  conception,  and  she  bare  a  son.  And  the  women 
said,  unto  Naomi: — "Blessed  be  the  Lord,  which  hath  not  left  thee  this 
day  without  a  kinsman,  that  his  name  may  be  famous  in  Israel.  And  he 
$hall  be  unto  thee  a  restorer  of  thy  life,  and  a  nourisher  of  thine  old 
age:  for  thy  daughter-in-law,  which  loveth  thee,  which  is  better  to  thee 
than  seven  sons,  hath  born  him."  And  Naomi  took  the  child,  and  laid 
it  in  her  bosom,  and  became  nurse  unto  it.  And  the  women  her  neigh- 
bor) gave  it  a  name,  saying:— "There  is  a  son  born  to  Naomi";  and  they 
called  his  name  Obed:  he  is  the  father  of  Jesse,  the  father  of  David* 


BIBLICAL  LITERATURE  59 

THE  HISTORY  OF  SUSANNA 

(From  The  Afocryfha) 

SUSANNA  was  originally  a  part  of  the  Book  of  Daniel,  but  was  set 
apart  as  apocryphal,  because  it  "was  not  in  Hebrew."  It  is  none  the 
less  a  story  of  remarkable  vividness,  told  with  skill  and  dramatic 
power. 

The  text  used  here  is  that  printed  in  Volume  IV  of  Ancient 
Hebrew  Literature^  in  Everyman's  Library,  published  in  1907  by 
J.  M.  Dent  and  Sons,  by  whose  permission  it  is  here  included. 

.      THE  HISTORY  OF  SUSANNA 

ERE  dwelt  a  man  in  Babylon,  called  Joakim:  and  he  took  a  wife, 
JL  Avhose  name  was  Susanna,  the  daughter  of  Chelcias,  a  very  fair 
woman,  and  one  that  feared  the  Lord.  Her  parents*  also  were  righteous, 
and  taught  their  daughter  according  to  the  law  of  Moses.  Now  Joakim 
was  a  great  rich  man,  and  had  a  fair  garden  joining  unto  his  house:  and 
to  him  reported  the  Jews;  because  he  was  more  honorable  than  all  others. 
The  same  year  were  appointed  two  of  the  ancients  of  the  people  to  be 
judges,  such  as  the  Lord  spake  of,  that  wickedness  came  from  Babylon 
from  ancient  judges,  who  seemed  to  govern  the  people.  These  kept  much 
at  Joakim's  house:  and  all  that  had  any  suits  in  law  cahie  unto  them. 

Now  when  the  people  departed  away  at  noon,  Susanna  went  into  her 
husband's  garden  to  walk.  And  the  two  elders  saw  her  going  in  every 
day,  and  walking;  so  that  their  lust  was  inflamed  toward  her.  And  they 
perverted  their  own  mind,  and  turned  away  their  eyes,  that  they  mi{dj| 
not  look  unto  heaven,  nor  remember  just  judgments.  And  albeit  tn^ 
both  were  wounded  with  her  love,  yet  durst  not  one  shew  another  his 
grief.  For  they  were  ashamed  to  declare  their  lust,  that  they  desired  to 
have  to  do  with  her.  Yet  they  watched  diligently  from  day  to  day  to  see 
her.  And  the  one  said  to  the  other: — "Let  us  now  go  home:  for  it  is 
dinner  time."  So  when  they  were  gone  out,  they  parted  the  one  from  the 
other,  and  turning  back  again  they  came  to  the  same  place;  and  after 
that  they  had  asked  one  another  the  cause,  they  acknowledged  their  lust: 
then  appointed  they  a  time  both  together,  when  they  might  find  her  alone. 
And  it  fell  out,  as  they  watched  a  fit  time,  she  went  in  as  before  with 
two  maids  only,  and  she  was  desirous  to  wash  herself  in  the  garden: 
for  it  was  hot.  And  there  was  nobody  there  save  the  two  elders,  that  had 
hid  themselves,  and  watched  her.  Then  she  said  to  her  maids: — "Bring 
me  oil  and  washing  balls,  and  shut  the  garden  doors,  that  I  may  wash 


6o  GREAT  SHORt  $FQMES  OF  THE  WORLD 

me."  And  they  did  as  she  bade  them,  and  shut  the  garden  doors,  and  went 
out  themselves  at  privy  doors  to  fetch  the  things  that  she  had  commanded 
them:  but  they  saw  not  the  elders,  because  they  were  hid.  9 

Now  when  the  maids  were  gone  forth,  the  two  elders  rose  up,  and 
ran  unto  her,  saying: — "Behold,  the  garden  doors  are  shut,  that  no  man 
can  see  us,  and  we  are  in  love  with  thee  5  therefore  consent  unto  us,  and 
lie  with  us.  If  thou  wilt  not,  we  will  bear  witness  against  thee,  that  a 
young  man  was  with  thee:  and  therefore  thou  didst  send  away  thy  maids 
from  thee.59  Then  Susanna  sighed,  and  said: — "I  am  straitened  on 
every  side:  for  if  I  do  this  thing,  it  is  death  unto  me:  and  if  I  do  it  not, 
I  cannot  escape  your  hands.  It  is  better  for  me  to  fall  into  your  hands, 
and  not  do  it,  than -to  sin  in  the  sight  of  the  Lord."  With  that  Susanna 
cried  with  a  loud  voice:  and  the  two  elders  cried  out  against  her.  Then 
ran  the  one,  and  opened  the  garden  door.  So  when  the  servants  of  the 
house  heard  the  cry  in  the  garden,  they  rushed  in  at  a  privy  door,  to  see 
.what  was  done  unto  her.  But  when  the  elders  had  declared  their  matter, 
the  servants  were  greatly  ashamed:  for  there  was  never  such  a  report 
made  of  Susanna.  * 

And  it  came  to  pass  the  next  day,  when  the  people  were  assembled  to 
her  husband  Joakim,  the  two  elders  came  also  full  of  mischievous  imagi- 
nation against  Susanna  to  put  her  to  death:  and  said  before  the  people, 
"Send  for  Susanna,  the  daughter  of  Chelcias,  Joakim's  wife^*  And  so 
they  sent.  So  she  came  with  her  father  and  mother,  her  children,  and  all 
her  kindred.  Now  Susanna  was  a  very  delicate  woman,  and  beauteous  to 
behold.  And  these  wicked  men  commanded  to  uncover  her  face  (for  she 
was  covered)  that  they  might  be  filled  with  her  beauty.  Therefore  her 
friends  and  all  that  saw  her  wept.  Then  the  two  elders  stood  up  in  the 
midst  of  the  people,  and  laid  their  hands  upon  her  head.  And  she  weeping 
looked  up  toward  heaven:  for  her  heart  trusted  in  the  Lord.  And  the 
elders  said:— "As  we  walked  in  the  garden  alone,  this  woman  came  in 
Pith  two  maids,  and  shut  the  garden  doors,  and  sent  the  maids  away. 
Then  a  young  man,  who  there  was  hid,  came  unto  her,  and  lay  with  her. 
Then  we  that  stood  in  a  corner  of  the  garden,  seeing  this  wickedness,  ran 
unto  them.  And  when  we  saw  them  together,  the  man  we  could  not  hold; 
for  he  was  stronger  than  we,  and  opened  the  door,  and  leaped  out.  But 
having  taken  this  woman,  we  asked  who  the  young  man  was,  but  she 
would  not  tell  us:  these  things  do  we  testify." 

Then  the  assembly  believed  them,  as  those  that  were  the  elders,  and 
judges  of  the  people:  so  they  condemned  her  to  death.  Then  Susanna 
cried  out  with  a  loud  voice,  and  said: — "O  everlasting  God,  that  knowest 
die  secrets,  and  knowest  all  things  before  they  be:  Thou  knowest  that 
they  have  borne  false  witness  against  me,  and,  behold,  I  must  die; 
;whereas  I  never  did  such  things  as  these  men  have  maliciously  invented 
against  me."  And  the  Lord  heard  her  voice.  Therefore  when  she  was 


BIBLICAL  LITERATURE  6l 

led  to  be  put  to  death,  the  Lord  raised  up  the  holy  spirit  of  a  youth,  whose 
name  was  Daniel:  who  cried  with  a  loud  voice: — "I  am  clear  from  the 
blood  of  this  woman."  Then  all  the  people  turned  them  toward 'him, 
and  said: — "What  mean  these  words  that  thou  hast  spoken?" 

So  he  standing  in  the  midst  of  them  said: — "Are  ye  such  fools,  ye  sons 
of  Israel,  that  without  examination  or  knowledge  of  the  truth  ye  have 
condemned  a  daughter  of  Israel?  Return  again  to  the  place  of  judgment: 
for  they  have  borne  false  witness  against  her.1'  Wherefore  all  the  people 
turned  again  in  haste,  and  the  elders  said  unto  him:— "Come,  sit  down 
among  us,  and  shew  it  us,  seeing  God  hath  given  thee  the  honor  of  an 
elder."  Then  said  Daniel  unto  them: — "Put  these  two  aside  one  far  from 
another,  and  I  will  examine  them."  So  when  they  were  put  asunder  one 
from  another,  he  called  one  of  them,  and  said  unto  him: — "O  thou  that 
art  waxen  old  in  wickedness,  now  thy  sins  which  thou  hast  committed 
aforetime  are  come  to  light:  for  thou  hast  pronounced  false  judgment, 
and  hast  condemned  the  innocent,  and  hast  let  the  guilty  go  free;  albeit 
the  Lord  saith,  The  innocent  and  righteous  shalt  thou  not  slay.  Now  then, 
if  then  hast  seen  her,  tell  me,  Under  what  tree  sawest  thou  them  com- 
panying  together?"  Who  answered: — "Under  a  mastic  tree."  And  Daniel 
said:— "Very  well;  thou  hast  lied  against  thine  own  head;  for  even  now 
the  angel  of  God  hath  received  the  sentence  of  God  to  cut  thee  in  two." 

So  he  nut  him  aside,  and  commanded  to  bring  the  other,  and  said  unto 
him. — "O  thou  seed  of  Canaan,  and  not  of  Juda,  beauty  hath  deceived 
thee,  and  lust  hath  perverted  thine  heart.  Thus  have  ye  dealt  with  the 
daughters  of  Israel,  and  they  for  fear  companied  with  you:  but  the 
daughter  of  Juda  would  not  abide  your  wickedness.  Npw  therefore  tell 
me,  Under  what  tree  didst  thou  take  them  companying  together?"  Who 
answered?— "Under  an  holm  tree."  Then  said  Daniel  unto  him: — "Well; 
thou  .hast  also  lied  against  thine  own  head:  for  the  angel  of  God  waiteth 
with  the  sword  to  cut  thee  in  two,  that  He  may  destroy  you.'*  With  that 
all  the  assembly  cried  out  with  a  loud  voice,  and  praised  God,  who  savt$| 
them  that  trust  in  Him. 

And  they  arose  against  the  two  elders,  for  Daniel  had  convicted  them 
.of  false  witness  by  their  own  mouth:  and  according  to  the  law  of  Moses 
they  did  unto  them  in  such  sort  as  they  maliciously  intended  to  do  to  their 
neighbor:  and  they  put  them  to  death.  Thus  the  innocent  blood  was  saved 
the  same  day.  Therefore  Chelcias  and  his  wife  praised  God  for  their 
daughter  Susanna,  with  Joakim  her  husband,  and  all  the  kindred,  because 
there  was  no  dishonesty  found  in  her. 

From  that  day  forth  was  Daniel  had  in  great  reputation  in  the  sight 
of  the  people. 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

THE  PRODIGAL  SON 

(From  the  New  Testament^  Luke  XV) 

THE  PRODIGAL  SON  is  a  parable,  spoken  by  Jesus  in  praise  of  for- 
giveness. It  is  one  of  the  great  stories  of  the  world,  and  is  justly 
regarded  as  a  perfect  model  of  the  art  of  story-telling. 

The  present  text  is  taken  from  the  King  James  version.  There 
is  no  title  to  the  story  in  the  original. 


THE  PRODIGAL  SON 

AO  he  said,  A  certain  man  had  two  sons:  and  the  younger  of  them 
said  to  his  father,  Father,  give  me  the  portion  of  goods  that  falleth 
to  me.  And  he  divided  unto  them  his  living.  And  not  many  day*  alter 
the  younger  son  gathered  all  together,  and  took  his  journey  into  a  far 
country,  and  there  wasted  his  substance  with  riotous  living.  And  when 
he  had  spent  all,  there  arose  a  mighty  famine  in  that  land;  and  he  began 
to  be  in  want.  And  he  went  and  joined  himself  to  a  citizen  of  that 
country;  and  he  sent  him  into  his  fields  to  feed  swine.  And  ne  would 
fain  have  filled  his  belly  with  the  husks  that  the  swine  did  eat:  and  no 
man  gave  unto  him.  And  when  he  came  to  himself,  he  said,  How  many 
hired  servants  of  my  father's  have  bread  enough  and  to  spare,  and  I 
perish  with  hunger!  I  will  arise  and  go  to  my  father,  and  will  say  unto 
him,  Father,  I  have  sinned  against  heaven,  and  before  thee,  and  am  no 
more  worthy  to  be  called  thy  son:  make*  me  as  one  of  thy  hired  servants. 
And  he  arose,  and  came  to  his  father.  But  when  he  was  yet  a  great  way 
off,  his  father  saw  him,  and  had  compassion,  and  ran,  and  fell  on  his 
neck,  and  kissed  him.  And  the  son  said  unto  him,  Father,  I  have  sinned 
against  heaven,  and  in  thy  sight,  and  am  no  more  worthy  to  be  called 
thy  son.  But  the  father  said  to  his  servants,  Bring  forth  the  best  robe,, 
and  put  it  on  him;  and  put  a  ring  on  his  hand,  and  shoes  on  his  feet: 
dtnd  bring  hither  the  fatted  calf,  and  kill  it;  and  let  us  eat,  and  be 
merry:  For  this  my  son  was  dead,  and  is  alive  again;  he  was  lost,  and 
is  found.  And  they  began  to  be  merry. 

,  Now  his  elder  son  was  in  the  field:  and  as  he  came  and  drew  nigh  to 
the  house,  be  heard  music  and  dancing.  And  he  called  one  of  the  servants, 
and  asked  what  these  things  meant.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Thy  brother 
is  come;  and  thy  father  hath  killed  the  fatted  calf,  because  he  hath 
received  him  safe  and  sound.  And  he  was  angry,  and  would  not  go  in: 
therefore  came  his  father  out,  and  entreated  him.  And  he  answering  said 


BIBLICAL  LITERATURE  63 

to  his  father,  Lo  these  many  years  do  I  serve  thee,  neither  transgressed 
I  at  any  time  thy  commandment:  and  yet  thou  never  gavest  me  a  kid, 
that  I  might  make  merry  with  my  friends:  but  as  soon  as  this  thy  son 
was  come,  which  hath  devoured  thy  living  with  harlots,  thou  hast  killed 
for  him  the  fatted  calf.  And  he  said  unto  him,  Son,  thou  art  ever  with 
me,  and  all  that  I  have  is  thine.  It  was  meet  that  we  should  make  merry, 
and  be  glad:  for  this  thy  brother  was  dead,  and  is  alive  again j  and  was 
lost,  and  is  found. 


THE  RAISING  OF  LAZARUS 

(From  the  New  Testament,  John  XI) 

THOUGH  this  story  is  part  of  the  larger  narrative  of  the  Gospel 
of  St.  John,  it  is  a  perfect  example  of  the  short  story.  The  details 
that  lead  up  to  the  dramatic  climax  are  at  first  sight  not  entirely 
^relevant.  It  is  only  after  the  story  has  been  read  in  its  entirety 
that  we  perceive  the  consummate  art  of  the  preparatory  sentences. 
Balzac  was,  many  centuries  later,  to  apply  this  method  to  the 
writing  of  his  novels. 

The  text  is  taken  from  the  King  James  version.  There  is  no 
titJ>  to  the  story  in  the  original. 


THE  RAISING  OF  LAZARUS 

rOW  a  certain  man  was  sick,  named  Lazarus,  of  Bethany,  the  town 
of  Mary  and  her  sister  Martha.  (It  was  that  Mary  which  anointed 
the  Lord  with  ointment,  and  wiped  his  feet  with  her  hair,  whose  brother 
Lazarus  was  sick.)  Therefore,  his  sister  sent  unto  him  saying,  Lord, 
behold,  he  whom  thou  lovest  is  sick.  When  Jesus  heard  that,  he  said, 
This  sickness  is  not  unto  death,  but  for  the  glory  of  God,  that  the  Son 
of  God  might  be  glorified  thereby. 

Now  Jesus  loved  Martha,  and  her  sister,  and  Lazarus.  When  he  had 
heard  therefore  that  he  was  sick,  he  abode  two  days  still  in  the  same  place 
where  he  was.  Then  after  that  saith  he  to  his  disciples,  Let  us  go  into 
Judaea  again.  His  disciples  say  unto  him,  Master,  the  Jews  of  late  sought 
to  stone  thee;  and  goest  thou  thither  again?  Jesus  answered,  Are  there 
not  twelve  hours  in  the  day?  If  any  man  walk  in  the  day,  he  stumbleth 
not,  because  he  seeth  the  light  of  this  world.  But  if  a  man  walk  in  the 
night,  he  stumbleth,  because  there  is  no  light  in  him.  These  things  said 
he:  .and  after  that  he  saith  unto  them,  Our  friend  Lazarus  sleepeth; 
but  I  go,  that  I  may  awake  him  out  of  sleep.  Then  said  hid  disdples, 


64  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Lord,  if  he  sleep,  he  shall  do  well.  Howbeit  Jesus  spake  of  his  death: 
but  they  thought  that  he  had  spoken  of  taking  of  rest  in  sleep.  Then 
Jesus  said  unto  them  plainly,  Lazarus  is  dead.  And  I  am  glad  for  your 
sakes  that  I  was  not  there,  to  the  intent  ye  may  believe;  nevertheless  let 
us  go  unto  him.  Then  said  Thomas,  which  is  called  Didymus,  unto  his 
fellow  disciples,  Let  us  also  go,  that  we  may  die  with  him. 

Then  when  Jesus  came,  he  found  that  he  had  lain  in  the  grave  four 
days  already.  Now  Bethany  was  nigh  unto  Jerusalem  about  fifteen  fur- 
longs off:  and  many  of  the  Jews  came  unto  Martha  and  Mary,  to  com- 
fort them  concerning  their  brother.  Then  Martha,  as  soon  as  she  heard 
that  Jesus  was  coming,  went  and  met  him,  but  Mary  sat  still  in  the 
house.  Then  said  Martha  unto  Jesus,  Lord,  if  thou  hadst  been  here,  my 
brother  had  not  died.  But  I  know,  that  even  now,  whatsoever  thou  wilt 
ask  of  God,  God  will  give  it  thee.  Jesus  saith  unto  her,  Thy  brother  shall 
rise  again.  Martha  saith  unto  him,  I  know  that  he  shall  rise  again  in 
the  resurrection  at  the  last  day.  Jesus  said  unto  her,  I  am  the  resurrection 
and  the  life:  he  that  believeth  in  me,  though  he  were  dead,  yet  shall  he 
live:  and  whosoever  liveth  and  believeth  in  me  shall  never  die.  Believest 
thou  this?  She  saith  unto  him,  Yea,  Lord;  I  believe  that  thou  art  the 
Christ,  the  son  of  God,  which  should  come  into  the  world.  And  when 
she  had  so  said,  she  went  her  way,  and  called  Mary  her  sister  secretly, 
saying,  The  Master  is  come,  and  calleth  for  thee.  As  soon  as  she  heard 
that,  she  arose  quickly  and  came  unto  him.  % 

Now  Jesus  was  not  yet  come  into  the  town,  but  was  in  that  place 
where  Martha  met  him.  The  Jews  then  which  were  with  her  in  the 
house,  and  comforted  her,  when  they  saw  Mary,  that  she  rose  up  hastily 
and  went  out,  followed  her  saying,  She  goeth  unto  the  grave  to  weep 
there.  Then  when  Mary  was  come  where  Jesus  was,  and  saw  him,  she 
fell  down  at  his  feet,  saying  unto  him,  Lord,  if  thou  hadst  been  here, 
my  brother  had  not  died.  When  Jesus  therefore  saw  her  weeping,  and 
tfc?  Jews  also  weeping  which  came  with  her,  he  groaned  in  the  spirit, 
and  was  troubled,  and  said,  Where  have  ye  laid  him?  They  said  unto 
him,  Lord,  come  and  see.  Jesus  wept.  Then  said  the  Jews,  Behold  how 
he  loved  him!  And  some  of  them  said,  Could  not  this  man,  which  opened 
the  eyes  of  the  blind,  have  caused  that  even  this  man  should  not  have 
died?  Jesus  therefore  again  groaning  in  himself  cometh  to  the  grave. 
It  was  a  cave,  and  a  stone  lay  upon  it.  Jesus  said,  Take  ye  away  the 
Stone.  Martha,  the  sister  of  him'  that  was  dead,  saith  unto  him,  Lord, 
by  this  time  he  stinketh:  for  he  hath  been  dead  four  days.  Jesus  saith 
unto  her*  Said  I 'not  unto  thee,  that,  if  thou  wouldest  believe,  thou 
shoialdest  see  the  glory  of  God?  Then  they  took  away  the  stone  from  the 
place  where  the  dead  was  laid.  And  Jesus  lifted  up  his  eyes,  and  said, 
Father,  I  thank  thee  that  thou  hast  heard  me.  And  I  knew  that  thou 
hearest  me  always:  but  because  of  the  people  which  stand  by  I  said  it, 


BIBLICAL  LITERATURE  65 

that  they  may  believe  that  thou  hast  sent  me.  And  when  he  thus  had 
spoken,  he  cried  with  a  loud  voice,  Lazarus,  come  forth* 

And  he  that  was  dead,  came  forth,  bound  hand  and  foot  with  grave- 
clathes.  And  his  face  was  bound  about  with  a  napkin.  Jesus  saith  unto 
them,  Loose  him,  and  let  him  go.  Then  many  of  the  Jews  which  came 
to  Mary,  and  had  seen  the  things  which  Jesus  did,  believed  on  him. 


RABBI  AKIVA 

(From  The  Talmud) 

THE  TALMUD  is  a  great  collection  of  law,  ritual,  precept,  and 
example,  which  was  composed  during  the  period  extending  from 
the  First  Century  B.C.  to  the  Fourth  Century  A.D.  The  work  was 
the  result  of  a  vast  amount  of  compilation  begun,  so  far  as  the 
actual  writing  is  concerned,  in  the  year  219  A.D.  by  Rabbi 
Jehudah  Hanassi.  About  the  year  500  A.D.  it  was  complete,  hav- 
i8g  been  combined  with  a  good  deal  of  material  brought  together 
since  the  first  parts  were  written  down.  The  colossal  work  is  inter- 
spersed throughout  with  parables,  like  Rabbi  Akiva  and  The 
Jewish  Mother^  all  of  which  were  used  for  purposes  of  illustra- 
tion. 

The  texts  of  these  stories  are  based,  by  the  editors,  upon  two 
early  translations..    There  are  no  titles  to  the  stories  in  the  original. 


RABBI  AKIVA 

Rabbis  tell  us  that  once  the  Roman  Government  made  a  decree 
JL  forbidding  Israel  to  study  the  law.  Thereupon  Pappus,  son  of 
Yehudah,  one  day  found  Rabbi  Akiva  teaching  it  openly  to  many  whom 
he  had  gathered  round  him  to  hear  it.  "Akiva,"  he  said,  "dost  not  thou 
fear  the  Government  ?"  "Listen,"  was  the  reply,  "and  I  will  tell  thee 
how  it  is  through  a  parable.  It  is  the  same  with  me  as  with  the  fishes 
which  a  fox,  walking  by  a  river's  bank,  saw  darting  distractedly  to  and 
fro  in  the  stream;  and,  speaking  to  them,  inquired,  Trom  what,  pray, 
are  ye  fleeing?'  Trom  the  nets,'  they  answered,  'which  the  sons  of  men 
have  set  to  snare  us.9  'Why,  then,'  rejoined  the  fox,  cnot  try  the  dry 
land  with  me,  where  we  can  live  together,  as  our  fathers  managed  to 
live  before  us?'  'Surely,'  they  exclaimed,  'thou  art  not  he  of  whom  we 
have  heard  as  the  most  cunning  of  animals;  for  in  this  thing  thou  art 
not  wise,  but  foolish.  For  if  we  have  cause  to  fear  where  it  is  natural 
for  us  to  live,  how  much  more  reason  have  we  to  do  so  where  we  must 


66  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

die!'  Exactly  so,"  continued  Akiva,  "is  it  with  us  who  study  the  law, 
in  which  jttf  written^ 'He  is  thy  life  and  the  length  of  thy  days';  for  if 
w$^$fer  WjRile%udjftng  the  law,  how  much  more  shall  we  suffer  if  we 
neglect  it?"  Not  many  days  afterward  it  is  related  that  Rabbi  Akiva  was 
arrested  and  thrown  into  prison.  It  so  happened  that  they  led  him  out  for 
execution  just  at  the  time  when  "Hear,  O  Israel !"  was  being  repeated, 
and  as  they  gashed  his  flesh  with  currycombs,  and  as  he  was  with  long- 
drawn  breath  uttering  the  word  One,  his  soul  departed  from  him.  Then 
there  came  forth  a  voice  from  heaven  saying,  "Blessed  art  thou,  Rabbi 
Akiva,  for  thy  soul  and  the  word  One  left  thy  body  together." 


THE  JEWISH  MOTHER 
(From  The  Talmud) 

ONCE  upon  a  t:me  a  Jewish  mother  together  with  her  seven  sons  suf- 
fered martyrdom  at  the  hands  of  the  Emperor.  The  sons,  ordered 
by  the  latter  to  do  homage  to  the  Imperial  idols,  declined,  and 
justified  their  disobedience  by  each  quoting  a  simple  text  from  the  Scrip- 
tures. When  the  seventh  was  brought  forth,  it  is  said  that  Caesar,  for 
appearance*  sake,  offered  to  spare  him  if  he  would  only  stooo  and  pick 
up  a  ring  from  the  ground  which  had  been  dropped  on  purpose.  "Alas 
for  thee,  oh,  Caesar!"  replied  the  boy;  "if  thou  art  so  zealous  for  thine 
honor,  how  much  more  so  ought  we  to  be  for  that  of  the  Holy  One — 
blessed  be  He!"  When  he  was  led  away  to  the  place  of  execution,  his 
mother  begged  and  obtained  leave  to  give  him  a  last  kiss.  "Go,  my  child," 
she  said,  "and  say  to  Abraham,  Thou  didst  build  an  altar  for  the  sacrifice 
of  one  son,  but  I  have  raised  altars  for  seven  sons."  Then  she  turned 
away  and  threw  herself  headlong  from  the  roof  and  died.  The  echo 
of  a  voice  was  heard  exclaiming,  "The  joyful  mother  of  children." 


V-  R.  NARLA 

Ancient  India 


INTRODUCTION 

SANSKRIT  is  the  classical  language  of  the  Hindus  of  ancient  India. 
Practically  the  whole  of  that  extraordinary  literature  which  began 
with  the  Vedas  and  culminated  some  time  before  the  close  of  the  Middle 
Ages,  was  written  in  Sanskrit. 

Our  knowledge  of  the  earliest  period  is  vague.  The  Vedas  were  com- 
posed perhaps  before  the  days  of  Homer.  Beginning  perhaps  about  500 
B.C.  $nd  extending  to  about  the  time  of  Christ,  is  the  period  of  the  epics, 
during  which  the  Mahabharata  and  Ramayana  were  probably  written. 
Both  these  monumental  poems  are  full  of  episodes  containing  at  least  the 
material  for  short  stories. 

But  for  the  purpose  of  this  volume,  the  outstanding  contribution  of 
the  ancient  Hindus  were  the  fables  and  tales,  most  of  which  are  found 
in  large  collections.  The  earliest  of  these  is  doubtless  the  Jataka,  or  Bud- 
dhist "birth-stories,"  which  were  in  existence  at  least  as  early  as  the  Fourth 
Century  B.C.  The  Panchatantra  may  be  as  old  as  the  Jataka  stories;  both 
are  rooted  in  a  common  source.  Many  centuries  later  an  unknown  author 
revised  certain  parts  of  the  Panchatantra  and  produced  the  book  known 
as  the  Hitofadesa,  which  may  be  as  recent  as  the  Fourteenth  Century 
A.D. 

Most  of  these  stories  are  directly  didactic,  but  for  the  historian  in 
search  of  the  origin  of  certain  types,  the  question  of  the  fable  and  its 
Indian  or  Greek  origin,  is  one  of  the  most  fascinating  in  all  literature. 
There  are  those  who  claim  that  the  tales  in  the  Panchatantra  and  the 
Jataka  stories  are  the  source  of  all  the  fables  in  the  Occident,  and  others 
who  believe  that  it  was  the  Hindus  who  took  the  fable  form  from  the 
Ancient  Greeks. 

Of  the  other  collections  of  stories  the  most  varied  is  the  famous 
Katha-sarlt-Sagara,  or  Ocean  of  Streams  of  Stones  ^  written  about  1070 
A.D.  by  Somadeva.  This  was  based  upon  a  much  earlier  collection, 
which  is  now  lost* 

The  influence  of  the  Sanskrit  tales  on  the  art  of  the  story  is  almost 
impossible  to  estimate:  translations  and  revisions  of  Sanskrit  tales  and 
fables  were  made  as  early  as  the  Sixth  Century  B.C.,  and  modern  re- 
fer 


68  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

* 

search  is  demonstrating  beyond  any  .doubt  the  fact  that  the  Ancient 
Hindus  have  furnished  ideas  and  literary  forms  to  other  nations  ever 
since  the  dawn  of  history. 


THE  ASS  IN  THE  LION'S  SKIN 

(Anonymous:  500  B.C.? -3 80  B.C.?) 

THE  Jataka  or  "Birth-story"  is  found  in  one  form  or  another  in 
several  collections,  one  of  which  was  well  known  as  early  as  the 
Fourth  Century  B.C.  It  is  a  brief  incident,  usually  in  fable  form, 
showing  one  incarnation  of  the  Buddha,  and  drawing  from  the 
fable  a  little  moral.  The  Jataka  may  actually  have  influenced  the 
ancient  Greeks  and  given  rise  to  the  /Esop  legends,  but  whether  or 
not  that  is  true,  they  constitute  the  "oldest,  most  complete,  and 
most  important  collection  of  folk-lore  extant." 

Nothing  whatsoever  is  known  of  the  author  or  authors  of  the 
particular  collection  from  which  this  story  is  taken.  It  is  reprinteft 
from  Buddhist  Birth  Stories  [Nidana-Katha],  by  T.  W.  Rhys 
Davids,  London,  1880,  by  permission  of  the  publishers,  Kegan 
Paul,  Trench,  Trttbner  and  Co. 


THE  ASS  IN  THE  LION'S  SKIN 
(From  the  Jataka  Collections) 

ONCE  upon  a  time,  while  Brahma-datta  was  reigning  in  Benares, 
the  future  Buddha  was  born  one  of  a  peasant  family;  and  when 
he  grew  up,  he  gained  his  living  by  tilling  the  ground. 

At  that  time  a  hawker  used  to  go  from  place  to  place,  trafficking  in 
goods  carried  by  an  ass.  Now  at  each  place  he  came  to,  when  he  took  the 
pack  down  from  the  ass's  back  he  used  to  clothe  him  in  a  lion's  skin,  and 
turn  him  loose  in  the  rice  and  barley-fields,  and  when  the  watchmen 
in  the  fields  saw  the  ass,  they  dared  not  go  near  him,  taking  him  for  a 
lion.  So  one  day  the  hawker  stopped  in  a  village;  and  while  he  was  getting 
his  own  breakfast  cooked,  he  dressed  the  ass  in  a  lion's  skin  and  turned 
him  loose  in  a  barley-field.  The  watchmen  in  the  field  dared  not  go  up 
to  him;  but  going  home,  they  published  the  news.  Then  all  the  villagers 
came  out  with  weapons  in  their  hands;  and  blowing  chanks,  and  beating 
drums,  they  went  near  the  field  and  shouted.  Terrified  with  die  feat  of 
death*  the  ass  tittered  a  cry — the  cry  of  an  ass! 

•     And  when  he  knew  him  then  to  be  an  ass,  the  future  Buddha  pro- 
nounced the  first  stanza: 


ANCIENT  INDIA— ANONYMOUS  69 

"This  is  not  a  lion's  roaring. 
Nor  a  tiger's,  nor  a  panther's; 
Dressed  in  a  lion's  skin, 
*  'Tis  a  wretched  ass  that  roars!" 

But  when  the  villagers  knew  the  creature  to  be  an  ass,  they  beat  him 
till  his  bones  broke;  and,  carrying  off  the  lion's  skin,  went  away.  Then 
the  hawker  came,  and  seeing  the  ass  fallen  into  so  bad  a  plight,  pro- 
nounced the  second  stanza: 

"Long  might  the  ass, 
Clad  in  a  lion's  skin, 
Have  fed  on  barley  green, 

But  he  brayed, 
And  that  moment  he  came  to  ruin." 

And  even  while  he  was  yet  speaking  the  ass  died  on  the  spot! 


THE  DOVE  AND  THE  CROW 

(Anonymous:  2nd  Century  B.C.  or  later) 

IT  is  thought  that  the  collection  of  fables  now  known  as  the  Pan- 
chatgntra  had  assumed  definite  shape  at  least  as  early  as  the  Sixth 
Century  A.D.,  and  it  is  possible  that  it  dates  back  to  the  Second 
Century  B.C.  Nothing  is  known  of  the  author.  The  little  stories 
that  make  up  the  collection  are  mostly  Beast  Fables,  which  were 
originally  designed  to  'instruct  young  princes.  "Panchatantra"  means 
"five  books." 

The  present  story,  from  the  second  book  or  Tantra>  is  reprinted 
from  Ancient  Indian  Tables  and  Stories,  by  permission  of  the  pub- 
lisher, John  Murray.  It  has  no  title  in  the  original. 


THE  DOVE  AND  THE  CROW 
(From  the  Panchatantra) 

IEN  Vishnu  Sarma  had  finished  telling  and  expounding  these 
fables,  his  pupils  were  lost  in  admiration  of  their  teacher,  whose 
wisdom  had  been  so  clearly  marked  by  his  dexterous  mingling  of  amuse- 
ment with  instruction.  They  rose  and  all  three  fell  at  his  feet,  thank- 
ing him  for  the  wise  lessons  he  had  given  them;  they  assured  him  that 
henceforth  they  would  regard  him  as  their  guru  and  that  they  hoped 
with  his  help  and  advice  to  rise  from  the  state  of  ignorance  in  which 
they  had  hitherto  been.  They  prayed  him  to  continue  the  work  so  happify 
begun  and  to  give  them  more  of  his  interesting  lessons* 


yo  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Vishnu  Sarma  was  charmed  to  see  that  his  pupils  were  well  disposed 
and  noticed  with  satisfaction  that  his  plan  had  so  far  succeeded.  He  con- 
tinued his  task  with  enthusiasm  and  proceeded  to  tell  them  fresh  fables. 

"Now,"  said  Vishnu  Sarma,  "listen,  my  young  princes,  to  the  fable 
I  am  going  to  tell  you.  In  the  complex  nature  of  this  life  we  must 
all  help  one  another.  It  is  by  this  mutual  help  that  the  weak  escape  the 
dangers  to  which  they  are  exposed  from  the  strong,  as  you  shall  now 
hear." 

A  certain  dove,  by  name  Chitrani,  had  built  her  nest  on  the  top  of  the 
mountain  Kanakachala  and  was  living  there  comfortably  with  her  family. 
At  the  foot  of  the  mountain  dwelt  a  crow.  One  day  Vega-Varma  (such 
was  the  crow's  name)  was  flying  round  in  search  of  food  when  he  no- 
ticed a  fowler  spreading  his  nets  in  the  way.  He  was  frightened  at  sight 
of  the  danger  and  at  once  returned  home. 

The  dove  Chitrani  passed  by  the  same  place  with  her  family,  but 
being  off  their  guard,  they  all  flew  into  the  net  and  were  captured. 
What  was  to  be  done?  How  could  they  escape  from  certain  rfeath? 
There  was  in  fact  no  escape,  no  hope  of  obtaining  their  liberty.  Already 
the  fowler  was  running  up  to  seize  his  prey,  when  all  at  once  under 
the  impulse  of  danger  they  took  to  flight  together,  carrying  with  them 
the  net  that  enclosed  them.  So  they  succeeded  in  escaping,  and  the  fowler, 
who  had  reckoned  upon  his  capture,  was  not  a  little  surprised  when  he 
saw  them  fly  away  with  his  nets.  But  they  reached  their  home  in  safety 
still  entangled  in  the  nets  into  which  they  had  flown. 

When  the  crow  saw  them  coming  in  this  strange  chariot,  he  hastened 
to  meet  them;  and  as  soon  as  Chitrani  saw  him,  she  told  him  of  their 
adventures  and  asked  him  to  help  them  by  disentangling  the  nets.  The 
crow  replied  that  he  could  not  free  them,  but  suggested  a  rat  of  the 
name  of  Hiranya  Varma  who  lived  close  by  and  who  could  help  them. 
Accordingly  Chitrani  called  the  rat,  who  came  up  at  once,  and  when  he 
saw  the  captives  he  began  to  scold  Chitrani  for  her  imprudence  and 
folly  which  had  brought  them  to  this  pass.  Chitrani  defended  herself 
and  quoted  the  maxim:  "No  one,  be  he  never  so  wise  or  prudent,  can 
escape  his  destiny."  Then  the  rat,  pitying  the  poor  doves,  called  his  fel- 
lows, and  they  all  set  to  work  to  gnaw  the  knots  of  the  nets,  so  that 
very  soon  they  had  freed  Chitrani  and  her  family. 

The  crow,  who  had  seen  the  signal  service  performed  by  the  rat  for 
the  doves,  was  anxious  to  make  friends  with  him;  he  hoped  also  to  obtain 
a  useful  ally  should  occasion  arise.  He  accordingly  made  overtures  to 
him;  but  the  rat  replied  that  they  were  of  totally  different  species,  the 
pne  living  in  the  air  and  the  other  in  the  earth;  he  did  not  see  the  use 
of  the  close  friendship  of  two  creatures  between  yvhom  Nature  had 
fixed  such  a  wide  gulf. 


ANCIENT  INDIA— ANONYMOUS  71 

But  the  crow  insisted.  Matters  of  personal  interest  and  friendship,  he 
said,  are  decided  by  our  inclination.  We  do  not  consider  distance  or  the 
difference  of  condition.  So  the  rat  yielded  and  they  swore  a  close  friend- 
ship. One  day  when  they  were  out  together  they  happened  to  meet  a  deer; 
they  stopped  him  and  asked  his  name  and  where  he  was  going.  The  deer 
said  he  was  called  Chitranga,  told  them  his  story,  and  asked  if  he  might 
join  them.  They  readily  consented,  and  so  the  three  struck  up  a  lasting 
friendship. 

One  day  while  they  were  out  together  and  were  very  thirsty,  in  their 
search  for  water  they  found  a  well  into  which  a  tortoise  had  fallen.  As 
soon  as  she  saw  the  three  friends  she  begged  them  to  take  her  out  of 
her  prison  and  to  put  her  somewhere  where  she  could  live  in  comfort. 
Pitying  her  plight,  they  rescued  her  and  took  her  to  a  spring  of  clear 
water;  and  she,  mindful  of  this  service,  also  became  their  friend. 

For  a  long  time  the  four  lived  happily  together,  but  one  day  when 
the  deer  had  gone  away  to  graze  he  fell  into  the  snare  of  a  hunter. 
But  when  the  rat  saw  that  his  friend  the  deer  was  so  long  in  returning, 
he  g'lessed  that  he  had  met  with  an  accident.  So  he  called  the  crow  'and 
told  him  what  he  feared  and  advised  him  to  fly  up  and  try  to  discover 
their  friend.  This  the  crow  did,  and  after  looking  about  for  some  time, 
at  last  saw  poor  Chitranga  in  the  snare  struggling  hard  to  get  out,  but 
in  vain.t| 

The  crow  at  once  told  Hiranya  Varma  what  had  happened  to  their 
friend,  and  he,  calling  his  fellow-rats,  sallied  out  to  help  him.  They 
soon  set  him  free.  Chitranga  went  home  with  his  friends  and  the  acci- 
dent was  soon  forgotten.  But  later  on,  when  the  four  friends  were  rest- 
ing quietly  in  the  shade  of  a  tree,  they  were  suddenly  disturbed  by  the 
unexpected  sight  of  a  crowd  of  hunters.  This  alarmed  them.  The  crow 
and  the  deer  could  easily  avoid  pursuit,  but  not  so  the  rat,  and  least 
of  all  the  tortoise.  The  other  two  would  not  leave  them  to  the  mercy 
of  the  hunters,  who  were  coming  on  quickly,  and  so  the  deer  undertook 
to  attract  attention  to  himself  in  order  to  save  the  life  of  his  friends. 
He  pretended  to  be  lame.  The  hunters,  seeing  him  limp  and  apparently 
hardly  able  to  hold  himself  up,  all  ran  to  capture  the  easy  prey.  But  the 
deer  led  them  a  long  dance,  sometimes  quickening  his  pace,  sometimes 
slowing  down,  until  at  last,  having  made  them  follow  for  a  long  time, 
he  fairly  used  his  four  legs  and  was  soon  out  of  sight.  Meanwhile  the 
tortoise  and  the  rat  had  found  a  place  of  safety  out  of  reach  of  the 
hunters. 

Once -more  the  four  friends  were  united  and  lived  quietly  together; 
these  dangers  had  taught  them  the  value  of  true  unity  and  of  sincere 
friendship,  and  by  experience  they  learned  how  the  weak  need  to  sup* 
port  one  another. 


ft  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

SOMADEVA 

(Flourished  about  1070  A.D.) 

SOMADEVA  (Soma  with  the  Brahmin ical  suffix  leva)  was  a  poet 
of  Kashmir.  His  celebrated  collection,  the  Ocean  of  Streams  of 
Stories,  based  upon  Buddhist  stories,  traditions,  and  an  earlier  col- 
lection of  tales,  is  one  of  the  most  voluminous  and  interesting  of 
its  kind  in  Sanskrit  literature. 

The  present  story,  translated  by  C.  H.  Tawney,  appeared  in  The 
Ocean  of  Story >  Vol.  I,  Book  IV,  Chap.  21,  of  the  complete  edition 
in  ten  volumes  edited  by  M.  M.  Penzer,  and  published  in  1924-25 
by  Chas.  J.  Sawyer,  Ltd.,  by  whose  permission  it  is  here  included. 

THE  STORY  OF  DEVADATTA 

(From  the  Katha-Sarit-Sagara)  € 

IN  old  time  there  was  a  certain  petty  monarch  of  the  name  of  Jaya- 
datta,  and  there  was  born  to  him  a  son,  named  Devadatta.  And  that 
wise  king,  wishing  to  marry  his  son,  who  was  grown  up,  thus  Deflected: 
"The  prosperity  of  kings  is  very  unstable,  being  like  a  courtesan  to  be 
enjoyed  by  force;  but  the  prosperity  of  merchants  is  like  a  woman  of 
good  family;  it  is  steady  and  does  not  fly  to  another  man.  Therefore 
I  will  take  a  wife  to  my  son  from  a  merchant's  family,  in  order  that 
misfortune  may  not  overtake  his  throne,  though  it  is  surrounded  with 
many  relations."  Having  formed  this  resolve,  that  king  sought  for  his 
son  the  daughter  of  a  merchant  in  Pataliputra  named  Vasudatta.  Vasu- 
datta for  his  part,  eager  for  such  a  distinguished  alliance,  gave  that 
daughter  of  his  to  the  prince,  though  he  dwelt  in  a  remote  foreign  land. 

And  he  loaded  his  son-in-law  with  wealth  to  such  an  extent  that  he 
no  longer  felt  much  respect  for  his  father's  magnificence.  Then  King 
Jayadatta  dwelt  happily  with  that  son  of.  his  who  had  obtained  the  daugh- 
ter of  that  rich  merchant.  Now  one  day  the  merchant  Vasudatta  came, 
full  of  desire  to  see  his  daughter,  to  the  palace  of  his  connection  by 
marriage,  and  took  away  his  daughter  to  his  own  home.  Shortly  after 
the  King  Jayadatta  suddenly  went  to  heaven,  and  that  kingdom  was 
seized  by  his  relations,  who  rose  in  rebellion;  through  fear  of  them  his 
son  Devadatta  was  secretly  taken  away  by  his  mother  during  the  night 
to  another  country. 

Then  that  Mother,  distressed  in  soul,  said  to  the  prince:  "Our  feudal 
Jbrd  is  the  emperor  who  rules  the  eastern  region;  repair  to  him,  my  son; 
he  will  procure  you  the  kingdom.*9 


ANCIENT  INDIA— SOMADEVA  73 

When  his  mother  said  this  to  him,  the  prince  answered  her:  <(Who  will 
respect  me  if  I  go  there  without  attendants?"  When  she  heard  that, 
his  mother  went  on  to  say:  "Go  to  the  house  of  your  father-in-law,  and 
get  money  there,  and  so  procure  followers;  and  then  repair  to  the  em- 
peror." Being  urged  in  these  words  by  his  mother,  the  prince,  though 
full  of  shame,  slowly  plodded  on  and  reached  his  father-in-law's  house 
in  the  evening.  But  he  could  not  bear  to  enter  at  such  an  unseasonable 
hour,  for  he  was  afraid  of  shedding  tears,  being  bereaved  of  his  father 
and  having  lost  his  worldly  splendor;  besides,  shame  withheld  him. 

So  he  remained  in  the  veranda  of  an  almshouse  near,  and  at  night  he 
suddenly  beheld  a  woman  descending  with  a  rope  from  his  father-in-law's 
house,  and  immediately  he  recognized  her  as  his  wife,  for  she  was  so 
resplendent  with  jewels  that  she  looked  like  a  meteor  fallen  from  the 
clouds;  and  he  was  much  grieved  thereat.  But  she,  though  she^pw  him, 
did  not  recognize  him,  as  he  was  emaciated  and  begrimed,  and  asked  him 
who  he  was.  When  he  heard  that,  he  answered:  "I  am  a  traveler."  Then 
the  merchant's  daughter  entered  the  almshouse,  and  the  prince  followed 
her  Sfcretly  to  watch  her.  There  she  advanced  towards  a  certain  man, 
and  he  towards  her,  and  asking  why  she  had  come  so  late,  he  bestowed 
several  kicks  on  her.  Then  the  passion  of  the  wicked  woman  was  doubled, 
and  she  appeased  him,  and  remained  with  him  on  the  most  affectionate 
terms. 

When°he  saw  that,  the  discreet  prince  reflected:  "This  is  not  the  time 
for  me  to  show  anger,  for  I  have  other  affairs  in  hand;  and  how  could 
I  employ  against  these  two  contemptible  creatures,  this  wife  of  mine 
and  the  man  who  has  done  me  this  wrong,  this  sword  which  is  to  be 
used  against  my  foes?  Or  what  quarrel  have  I  with  this  adulteress,  for 
this  is  the  work  of  malignant  desire  that  showers  calamities  upon  me, 
showing  skill  in  the  game  of  testing  my  firmness?  It  is  my  marriage 
with  a  woman  below  me  in  rank  that  is  in  fault,  not  the  woman  her- 
self; how  can  a  female  crow  leave  the  male  crow  to  take  pleasure  in  a 
cuckoo?" 

Thus  reflecting,  he  allowed  that  wife  of  his  to  remain  in  the  society 
of  her  paramour;  for  in  the  minds  of  heroes  possessed  with  an  ardent 
desire  of  victory,  of  what  importance  is  woman,  valueless  as  a  straw? 
But  at  the  moment  when  his  wife  ardently  embraced  her  paramour  there 
fell  from  her  ear  an  ornament  thickly  studded  with  valuable  jewels. 
And  she  did  not  observe  this,  but  at  the  end  of  her  interview,  taking  leave 
of  her  paramour,  returned  hurriedly  to  her  house  as  she  came.  And  that 
unlawful  lover  also  departed  somewhere  or  other. 

Then  the  prince  saw  that  jeweled  ornament,  and  took  it  up;  it  flashed 
with  many  jewel-gleams,  dispelling  the  gathering  darkness  of  despond- 
ency, and  seemed  like  a  hand-lamp  obtained  by  him  to  assist  him  in 
searching  for  his  lost  prosperity.  The  prince  immediately  perceived  that 


74  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

it  was  very  valuable,  and  went  off,  having  obtained  all  he  required,  to 
Kanyakubjaj  there  he  pledged  that  ornament  for  a  hundred  thousand 
gold  pieces,  and  after  buying  horses  and  elephants  went  into  the  presence 
of  the  emperor.  And  with  the  troops  which  he  gave  him  he  marched, 
and  slew  his  enemies  in  fight,  and  recovered  his  father's  kingdom;  and 
his  mother  applauded  his  success. 

Then  he  redeemed  from  pawn  that  ornament,  and  sent  it  to  his  father- 
in-law  to  reveal  that  unsuspected  secret;  his  father-in-law,  when  he  saw 
that  earring  of  his  daughter's,  which  had  come  to  him  in  such  a  way, 
was  confounded,  and  showed  it  to  hen  She  looked  upon  it,  lost  long 
ago  like  her  own  virtue;  and  when  she  heard  that  it  had  been  sent  by 
her  husband  she  was  distracted,  and  called  to  mind  the  whole  circum- 
stance: "This  is  the  very  ornament  which  I  let  fall  in  the  almshouse 
the  night  I  saw  that  unknown  traveler  standing  there;  so  that  must  un- 
doubtedlf  have  been  my  husband  come  to  test  my  virtue,  but  I  did  not 
recognize  him,  and  he  picked  up  this  ornament." 

While  the  merchant's  daughter  was  going  through  this  train  of  re- 
flection, her  heart,  afflicted  by  the  misfortune  of  her  unchastity  Jjaving 
been  discovered,  in  its  agony,  broke.  Then  her  father  artfully  questioned 
a  maid  of  hers  who  knew  all  her  secrets,  and  found  out  the  truth,  and 
so  ceased  to  mourn  for  his  daughter;  as  for  the  prince,  after  he  recovered 
the  kingdom,  he  obtained  as  wife  the  daughter  of  the  emperor,  won  by 
his  virtues,  and  enjoyed  the  highest  prosperity.  % 


THE  JACKAL 

(Anonymous:  I4th  Century,  A.D.,  or  earlier) 

NOTHING  is  known  of  the  author  of  the  Hitofadcsa,  a  manual  of 
didactic  fables  composed — on  the  basis  of  the  Panchatantra — be- 
fore the  year  1373  A.D. 

The  present  story-— which  has  no  title  in  the  original — is  re- 
printed from  Charles  Wilkins'  translation,  London,  1787* 


THE  JACKAL1 
(From  the  Hitofadcsa) 

A  CERTAIN  jackal,  as  he  was  roaming  about  the  borders  of  a  town, 
just  as  his  inclinations  led  him,  fell  into  a  dyer's  vat;  but  being 
unable  to  get  out,  in  the  morning  he  feigned  himself  dead.  At  length, 
the  master  of  the  vat,  which  was  filled  with  indigo,  came,  and  seeing 


ANCIENT  INDIA— ANONYMOUS  75 

a  jackal  lying  with  his  legs  uppermost,  his  eyes  closed,  and  his  teeth  bare, 
concluded  that  he  was  dead,  and  so,  taking  him  out,  he  carried  him  a 
good  way  from  the  town,  and  there  left  him*  The  sly  animal  instantly 
got  up,  and  ran  into  the  woods;  when,  observing  that  his  coat  was  turned 
blue,  he  meditated  in  this  manner:  "I  am  now  of  the  finest  color!  what 
great  exaltation  may  I  not  bring  about  for  myself?"  Saying  this,  he 
called  a  number  of  jackals  together,  and  addressed  them  in  the  following 
words:  "Know  that  I  have  lately  been  sprinkled  king  of  th$  forests,  by 
the  hands  of  the  goddess  herself  who  presides  over  these  woods,  with 
a  water  drawn  from  a  variety  of  choice  herbs.  Observe  my  color,  and 
henceforward  let  every  business  be  transacted  according  to  my  orders." 
The  rest  of  the  jackals,  seeing  him  of  such  a  fine  complexion,  prostrated  ' 
themselves  before  him,  and  said:  "According  as  Your  Highness  com- 
mands!" By  this  step  he  made  himself  honored  by  his  own  relations, 
and  so  gained  the  supreme  power  over  those  of  his  own  species,  as  well 
as  all  the  other  inhabitants  of  the  forests.  But  after  a  while,  finding  him- 
self surrounded  by  a  levee  of  the  first  quality,  such  as  the  tiger  and  the 
like,  he  began  to  look  down  upon  his  relations;  and,  at  length,  he  kept 
them  %t  a  distance.  A  certain  old  jackal,  perceiving  that  his  brethren  were 
very  much  cast  down  at  this  behavior,  cried:  "Do  not  despair!  If  it  con- 
tinue thus,  this  imprudent  friend  of  ours  will  force  us  to  be  revenged. 
Let  me  alone  to  contrive  his  downfall.  The  lion,  and  the  rest  who  pay 
him  coun^  are  taken  by  his  outward  appearance;  and  they  obey  him  as 
their  king,  because  they  are  not  aware  that  he  is  nothing  but  a  jackal: 
do  something  then  by  which  he  may  be  found  out.  Let  this  plan  be  pur- 
sued: Assemble  all  of  you  in  a  body  about  the  close  of  the  evening, 
and  set  up  one  general  howl  in  his  hearing;  and  I'll  warrant  you,  the 
natural  disposition  of  his  species  will  incline  him  to  join  in  the  cry;  for, 

Whatever  may  be  the  natural  propensity  of  anyone  is  very  hard  to  be 
overcome.  If  a  dog  were  made  king,  would  he  not  gnaw  his  shoe  straps? 

And  thus  the  tiger,  discovering  that  he  is  nothing  but  a  jackal,  will  pres- 
ently put  him  to  death."  The  plan  was  executed,  and  the  event  was  just 
as  it  had  been  foretold. 


Persia 


INTRODUCTION 

HE*4 short  story  in  Persia  had  its  origin  among  the  wandering  story- 
*  JL  tellers,  w&o  sometimes  invented  their  plots  (so  far  as  any  one  ever 
invents  a  Riot),  but  more  commonly  borrowed  them  from  the  extensive 
store  of  legends  or  folk-tales,  Semitic  or  Mohammedan  in  origin.  No 
story-teller's  repertory  was  complete  unless  it  included  tales  of  treasure 
or  of  love.  The  motive  of  these  characteristic  stories  was  extremely 
simple:  one  set-out  to  amass  a  fortune,  either  by  cunning  or  outright 
theft;  or'efee  one  pursued  some  woman  who  was  acclaimed  <»s  the 
perfection  of  "maidenly  beauty.  In  any  event,  the  hero  almost  invariably 
succeeded  in  his  quest  and  lived  happy  ever  after.  The  obstacles  in  the 
way  of  achievement,  whether  the  quest  was  treasure  or  a  beautiful 
woman,  formed  the  basis  of  the  story,  and  when  these  were  of  a 
supernatural  character  the  teller  excelled  in  the  invention  of  particularly 
ingenious  obstacles.  The  introduction  of  supernatural  elements  was  to 
be  expected  among  a  people  whose  imaginations  had  been  stimulated  by 
long  ages  of  wandering  in  the  uninhabited  spots  of  the  earth,  and  the 
Persian  story-teller  delighted  in  mixing  his  facts  with  fancy. 

The  Golden  Age  of  the  Persian  story  was  about  the  Eleventh  Century 
A.D.  Since  that  time  there  has  been  little  activity  on  the  part  of  the 
novelist  or  the  short  story  writer. 

Tta  Persians  added  to  the  art  they  so  zealously  practised  a  decorative 
element  that  was  wanting  in  the  Sanscrit  stories,  from  which  they  largely 
borrowed,  but  apart  from  this  they  would  deserve  enduring  fame  for 
having  transmitted  to  the  Arabians  the  celebrated  Arabian  Nights. 


ABUL  KASIM  MANSUR  FIRDAWSI 

(935-1025    A.D.) 

ABUL  KASIM  MANSUR  FiRDAwrf  was  born  in  the  city  of  Tus,  in 
Persia,  in  935.  He  left  the  city  of  his  birth  to  join  the  famous  court 
of  Mahmud  of  Ghazna,  but  not  before  he  had  completed  a  rough 

76 


77 


draft  of  hit  justly  famous  Shah-Nama,  or  Book  of  Kings.  About 
forty  years  he  devoted  to  this  wonderful  epic,  an  account  of  the 
glories  of  Iran  from  its  very  beginnings  and  one  of  the  great 
contributions  to  classic  literature.  It  is  related  that  Mahmud  prom- 
ised Firdawsi  a  fortune  for  his  epic.  When  it  was  finally  finished 
in  1010,  the  monarch  failed  of  his  word.  Later,  repenting  of  his 
misdeed,  he  sent  the  poet  the  promised  gold,  which  arrived  just  as 
this  ill-treated  immortal  was  being  buried. 

The  present  version  of  Jams  hid  and  Zuhak, 
from  The  Book  of  the  Kings,  is  from  the  tranj* 
Levy,  M.A.,  copyrighted  in  1923  by  the 
by  whose  permission  it  is  here  reprinted. 


JAMSHID  AND  ZUH_ 

\T^ 

IN  the  days  when  the  world  was  young,  there  w3 
hi£  capital  in  Iran,  ruled  the  earth  for  seven 
name  was  Jamshid,  and  he  was  indeed  a  mighty  monarch,  for  men  and 
divs  and  birds  and  peris  all  obeyed  him.  The  world  grew  prosperous 
under  him,  for  he  said:  "I  will  prevent  evildoers  from  working  ill,  and 
will  guide* all  men  aright." 

For  fifty  years  he  concerned  himself  with  weapons  of  war,  to  open 
the  path  to  glory  for  the  valiant,  and  made  helmets  and  lances  and  coats 
of  mail.  Then  he  turned  to  the  making  of  garments  for  his  people.  He 
prepared  stuffs  of  linen,  of  wool,  of  beaver  skins  and  of  rich  brocade, 
and  taught  the  people  how  to  weave;  and  when  the  material  was  ready 
he  showed  them  how  to  clean  it  and  make  it  into  garments.  This  being 
achieved,  he  devoted  a  space  of  time  to  seeking  out  the  precious  stones, 
and  discovered  such  treasured  things  as  ruby,  yellow  amber,  silver,  and 
gold.  Then  he  invented  perfumes,  such  as  balm,  camphor  and  pure  musk, 
aloes,  umber  and  rose-water.  Thereafter  he  discovered  medicine,  remedies 
against  every  sickness,  and  the  means  of  preserving  health  and  of  curing 
wounds.  Thereby  he  made  the  world  contented  and  was  himself  happy. 

Three  hundred  years  passed,  and  in  that  time  death  was  unknown. 
There  was  neither  pain  nor  sorrow,  and  the  divs  were  kept  in  slavery, 
so  that  they  never  troubled  men.  But  as  time  went  on,  the  king  became 
so  powerful  that  he  could  see  nothing  in  all  the  earth  save  himself,  and 
by  his  arrogance  incurred  the  anger  of  the  gods. 

Now  there  lived  at  this  time  in  Arabia  a  king  among  the  desert  chief- 
tain? and  the  captain  of  many  armed  bands  of  horsemen.  He  possessed 
flocks  and  .herds  of  goats,  camels,  and  sheep,  each  a  thousand  strong,  as 


78  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

well  as  cows  and  Arab  horses.  This  generous  king  had  a  son  Zuhak,  who 
was  brave,  light-hearted,  and  care-free,  and  who  was  constantly  engaged 
in  wars  against  his  enemies. 

It  happened  one  day  that  Iblis,  the  god  of  the  divs,  came  to  the  palaoe 
disguised  as  a  nobleman,  and  so  pleased  the  young  prince  that  he  turned 
aside  from  his  brave  and  noble  way  in  order  to  follow  the  wicked  div. 
Iblis  rejoiced  greatly,  and  said:  "I  know  many  things  which  none  can 
learn  e  Jo^^Trbftn  jne."  "Teach  me  them,"  said  the  young  man,  "and 

^^irsitsC  said  Iblis,  "you  must  swear  an  oath  not  to  reveal 
mjTsQCret&to  any,mari^J  "I  swear,"  said  Zuhak,  "and  I  will  do  every- 
thing you  tell  me?'  YcThen,"  said  Iblis  to  him,  "why  should  there  be 
Tany  othef  man^but  youj  illustrious  prince,  in  the  palace?  Of  what  use 
fcra  father  vftien  he  has  a -son  like  you?  Take  his  throne,  for  it  belongs 
to  you,  ancP  if^you  foljow  my  counsel,  you  will  be  a  great  king  on  the 
earth."  "  *  *•  ' 

WhAi  Zuhak  Ji£aigl  this  he  pondered  long,  for  he  loved  his  father. 
He  saicLi;"I  cannot  *dj>  it.  Tell  me  something  else,  for  that  is  not  pos- 
sible."' Ililis  fepfieji  -in  fury,  "If  you  do  not  carry  out  my  commands 
and  if  you  break  the  oath  you  swore  to  me,  my  bonds  will  ifmain 
attached  to  your  neck  for  ever."  Zuhak  submitted,  and  said:  "How  am 
I  to  bring  this  about?" 

"I,  Iblis,  will  prepare  the  means,  and  raise  you  to  the  sun.  You  have 
but  to  keep  silence."  % 

Now  the  king  had  around  his  palace  a  garden  in  which  he  took  great 
delight,  and  here,  often  rising  before  dawn,  he  would  walk,  without 
even  one  slave  to  carry  his  torch.  On  the  path  the  div  dug  a  deep  pit, 
covered  it  with  brushwood,  and  spread  earth  on  the  top.  Early  the  fol- 
lowing morning,  before  the  sun  was  up,  the  Arab  king  awoke  and  went 
out  into  the  cold  air  of  dawn.  As  he  approached  the  fatal  pit  his  star 
paled,  but  he  disregarded  its  warning,  and,  falling  into  the  chasm,  was 
slain.  Thus  perished  this  pious  man  who  had  scarce  ever  spoken  a  harsh 
word  to  his  son. 

Iblis,  his  plan  accomplished,  then  approached  Zuhak  again,  and  said: 
"When  you  have  turned  your  heart  towards  me,  you  itoay  obtain  all  that 
you  desire.  Renew  but  your  oath,  and  the  entire  world  will  be  your 
kingdom;  the  wild  beasts,  the  birds,  and  the  fishes  will  be  your  subjects." 
And  with  these  words  he  vanished. 

Soon  afterwards  IblJs  assumed  the  guise  of  a  young  man  of  ready 
Speech  and  agile  form,  and  presented  himself  to  Zuhak,  saying  that  he 
was  an  excellent  cook.  The  prince  engaged  him,  and  by  his  royal  com- 
mand delivered  to  him  the  keys  of  his  kitchen.  Now  the  design  of  Iblis 
was  to  make  the  prince  abandon  his  eating  of  herbs  and  to  persuade  him 
to  the  eating  of  meat.  He  began  by  preparing  yolk  of  egg  for  him, 
Which  in  a  short  time  gave  him  great  vigor  of  body.  Zuhak  was  pleased 


PERSIA— FIRDAWSf  79 

and  commended  his  cook,  who  said,  "To-morrow  I  will  prepare  for  your 
Majesty  a  dish  than  which  nought  is  more  perfect."  And  the  next  day, 
when  the  blue  dome  of  heaven  was  lighted  by  the  red  ruby  of  the  sun, 
he  prepared  a  dish  of  partridge  and  of  silver  pheasant,  which  the  Arab 
ruler  ate;  and  thus  he  abandoned  his  imprudent  mind  to  the  power  of 
Iblis,  who,  on  the  third  day,  placed  upon  the  table  a  mixture  of  birds 
and  lambs'  flesh.  On  the  fourth  day,  when  the  meal  was  brought,  the  king 
feasted  on  the  flesh  of  a  young  calf  seasoned  with  rose-water,  old  wine, 
and  pure  musk.  The  meal  filled  him  with  delight  at  the  skill  of  his 
cook,  and,  summoning  him,  he  said,  "Think  what  it  is  that  you  desire, 
and  ask  it  of  me."  Iblis  replied,  "I  have  but  one  request  to  make  of  the 
king  (may  he  live  prosperous  forever),  but  that  is  an  honor  too  great 
for  me;  it  is  that  I  may  be  permitted  to  kiss  his  shoulders  and  to  touch 
them  with  my  eyes  and  face." 

Zuhak  suspected  nothing  of  his  intention,  and  said:  "I  grant  your 
wish;  it  may  be  that  some  honor  will  thereby  accrue  to  your  name," 
and  he  bared  his  shoulders  to  him  as  to  a  friend.  Iblis  kissed  them  and 
vanished  from  the  earth.  But  from  each  of  Zuhak's  shoulders  appeared 
a  black  serpent,  and  Zuhak  became  sick  at  heart  and  sought  on  all  sides 
for  a  remedy.  Finally  he  bade  that  the  serpents  be  cut  off  close  to  his 
shoulder,  but  they  grew  again.  Every  physician  and  wise  man  in  the 
kingdom  tried  his  remedies,  but  all  in  vain.  The  last  to  come  was  Iblis 
himself,  Hyho  appeared  as  a  physician  before  Zuhak.  "It  was  inevitable," 
said  he,  "that  this  should  happen.  Leave  the  serpents  and  do  not  cut 
them  off  while  there  is  life  in  them.  To  appease  them  you  must  feed 
them  on  the  brains  of  men,  which  alone  will  at  last  slay  them." 

While  these  events  were,  taking  place  at  the  court  of  Arabia,  great 
tumults  filled  the  land  of  Iran.  The  arrogance  of  Jamshid  had  set  his 
subjects  in  revolt  against  him,  and  a  great  army  marched  towards  Arabia 
from  the  highlands  of  Iran.  They  had  heard  that  in  Arabia  there  was 
a  man  with  a  serpent's  face  that  inspired  terror  in  men,  and  to  him  they 
went  in  order  to  elect  him  as  their  king.  Zuhak  eagerly  returned  with 
them  and  was  crowned,  and,  turning  his  eyes  towards  the  throne  of  Jam- 
shid, began  to  treat  the  world  familiarly  as  if  it  were  the  ring  upon  his 
finger.  Jamshid  fled  before  him,  and  for  a  hundred  years  was  seen  by 
no  man,  till  Zuhak  fell  upon  him  without  warning  in  the  confines  of 
China  and  put  him  to  death.  Thus  perished  his  pride  from  the  earth. 

For  a  thousand  years  Zuhak  occupied  the  throne  and  the  world  sub- 
mitted to  him,  so  that  goodness  died  away  and  was  replaced  by  evil. 
Every  night  during  that  long  period  two  youths  were  slain  to  provide 
the  serpents'  food.  Now  in  the  king's  country  there  remained  two  men 
of  purity,  of  Persian  race,  the  one  Irmail  the  Pious,  and  the  other 
Girmail  the  Clear-sighted.  It  happened  that  they  met  one  day  and  talked 
of  many  matters  great  and  small;  of  *Jie  unjust  king,  of  his  army,  and 


So  GREAT  SHOfcT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

of  his  horrible  custom.  The  one  said:  "We  ought,  by  the  art  of  die 
kitchen,  to  introduce  ourselves  into  the  king's  household  and  apply  our 
.Wits  to  saving  the  unfortunates  who  lose  their  lives  each  day."  Setting 
to  work,  they  learned  the  art  of  cookery,  and  succeeded  in  entering  tlie 
king's  kitchen.  There,  after  no  long  time,  they  were  entrusted  with  the 
preparation  of  the  king's  meal,  and  they  contrived  to  mix  the  brains  of 
a  sheep  with  those  of  one  of  the  youths  who  was  brought  for  slaughter. 
The  other  one  they  saved  alive  and  dismissed  secretly,  saying  to  him: 
"Escape  in  secret,  beware  of  visiting  any  inhabited  town;  your  portion 
in  the  world  must  be  the  desert  and  the  mountain." 

In  this  manner  they  saved  two  hundred  men,  of  whom  is  born  the 
race  of  Kurds,  who  know  not  any  fixed  abode,  whose  houses  are  tents; 
and  who  have  in  their  hearts  no  fear  of  God. 

While  Zuhak  still  had  forty  years  to  live,  one  night  he  dreamed  a 
dream,  and  he  saw  three  royal  warriors  emerge,  two  of  them  aged,  and 
another,  younger,  who  walked  between  them,  and  jpho  had  die  form 
of  a  cypress  and  the  visage  of  a  king.  His  girth  and  his  gait  were  those 
of  a  prince,  and  he  carried  a  club  with  a  bull's  head.  He  advanced 
straight  upon  Zuhak,  smote  him  upon  the  forehead  with  his  club,  tied 
him  hand  and  foot  with  thongs,  and  overwhelmed  him  with  shame  and 
torments. 

Zuhak  awoke  with  a  great  cry  of  fear,  that  brought  his  wif e,^rnawaz, 
and  his  attendants  running  to  him  in  alarm.  Arnawaz,  as  she  approached, 
cried  out  to  him:  "O  king,  confide  in  me  and  tell  me  what  has  hap- 
pened. You  sleep  in  your  palace  securely;  everything  that  is  in  the  world 
obeys  you;  savage  beasts,  divs,  and  men  are  your  guardians;  the  earth 
with  its  seven  climes  is  your  domain;  all,  from  the  firmament  to  the 
depths  of  the  seas,  is  yours.  Why  then  do  you  leap  thus  from  your  bed? 
Tell  us."  Zuhak  replied:  "My  dream  must  be  kept  secret,  for  were  I 
to  reveal  it,  you  would  despair  of  my  life."  "Perhaps,  if  you  reveal  it," 
said  Arnawaz,  "we  may  find  a  remedy,  for  no  ill  exists  that  has  not  its 
remedy."  The  king  was  persuaded  by  this,  and  told  what  he  had  seen  in 
his  dream.  "This  is  not  a  matter  that  you  may  neglect,"  exclaimed  the 
queen  on  hearing  it.  "Summon  from  every  country  the  sages  that  can 
read  the  stars,  examine  all  sources,  and  seek  thus  to  learn  the  secret. 
Discover  what  he  is  whose  hand  threatens  you;  man,  div,  or  peri;  and 
when  you  know,  then  immediately  apply  your  remedy."  And  the  king 
approved  the  counsel  of  this  silver  swan. 

;  The  world,  plunged  in  night,  was  black  as  a  raven's  wing;  suddenly 
light  dawned  upon  the  mountains  as  though  the  sun  had  scattered  rubies 
fcpon  the  azure  of  the  firmament.  Wherever  there  were  wise  counselors 
the  king  sought  them  out  and  assembled  them  in  his  palace,  where  he 
told  the  whole  company  of  his  trouble,  and  sought  their  advice.  The  lips 
of  the  noblemen  were  dried  with  fear,  their  cheeks  paled,  and  their 


PERSIA— FIRDAWSf  8r 

hearts  filled  with"  anguish.  "For,"  sgid  each  to  himself,  "if  we  disclose 
what  must  happen,  he  will  die,  and  if  we  remain  silent,  then  we  must 
bid^  adieu  to  life."  Thus  they  remained  hesitating  for  three  days.  And 
on  the  fourth  day,  Zuhak  assembled  them  again  and  in  rage  asked  for 
their  counsel,  and  menaced  them  with  death  if  they  withheld  from  him 
their  knowledge  of  the  future. 

.  At  length  there  stood  out  from  among  the  noble  counselors  one  who 
was  their  chief,  whose  conduct  was  upright  and  whose  heart  was  filled 
with  wisdom.  He  loosened  his  tongue  before  Zuhak,  and  spoke  thus: 
"Empty  thine  heart  of  vain  hope,  for  no  one  is  born  save  to  die.  There 
have  been  many  kings  before  you  worthy  of  the  throne  of  power,  they 
saw  much  of  grief  and  much  of  joy;  and,  when  their  long  days  had 
flowed  past,  they  died.  Were  you  a  rampart  of  iron  securely  founded, 
the  turn  of  the  skies  would  break  you  too,  and  you  would  disappear. 
There  will  be  some  one  who  will  inherit  your  throne  and  will  overturn 
your  fortunes.  His  name  is  Faridun,  but  he  is  not  yet  born,  and  the 
time  to  fear  him  is  not  yet.  He  will  grow  like  a  tree  destined  to  bear 
fruit,  £ftd  when  he  has  reached  manhood  his  head  will  touch  the  moon. 
Then  he  will  demand  your  girdle  and  your  crown,  your  throne  and  your 
diadem.  He  will  carry  upon  his  shoulder  a  club  of  steel,  and  with  his 
bull-headed  mace  he  will  strike  you  and  drag  you  from  your  palace." 

"What  {<jason  has  he  for  hating  me?"  cried  out  the  impure  Zuhak. 

"Because  his  father  will  die  at  your  hands." 

The  king  heard  and  thought  on  this,  fell  from  his  throne,  and 
swooned  away.  When  his  senses  returned  to  him,  he  mounted  again  upon 
his  throne  and  sent  out  searchers,  both  secret  and  public,  to  seek  for 
traces  of  Faridun.  He  sought  no  vest  or  sleep  or  food,  and  bright  day 
became  gloomy  to  him. 

Thus  passed  a  long  space  of  time,  while  the  serpent-man  remained 
prey  to  his  terror.  Faridun  was  born,  and  the  lot  of  the  whole  world  was 
thereby  destined  to  change.  The  youth  grew  up  like  a  cypress,  and  he 
was  resplendent  with  all  the  glory  of  majesty.  He  was  like  the  shining 
sun,  as  needful  to  the  world  as  rain,  an  adornment  to  the  mind  like 
knowledge.  Zuhak  filled  the  earth  with  sound  and  fury,  searching  every- 
where for  Faridun  son  of  Abtin.  The  earth  became  straitened  for  Abtin, 
who  fled  and  struggled;  but  he  was  finally  caught  in  the  lion's  net. 

Meantime  Faridun  was  well  secured  by  his  mother,  and  was  safe. 
The  king  ceased  not  night  or  day  to  be  in  anguish  concerning  him.  One 
day  he  seated  himself  on  his  ivory  throne,  and,  putting  his  crown  upon 
his  head,  summoned  all  his  nobles.  To  them  he  spoke  thus:  "O  you  men 
cf  virtue,  noble  and  prudent,  I  have  a  hidden  enemy,  as  all  men  -know. 
I  despise  no  en$my  however  feeble,  for  I  fear  lest  fortune  betray  me. 
I  must  increase  my  army,  and  will  have  it  of  men,  divs,  and  peris.  I 
desire  you  to  aid  me,  for  I  .cannot  bear  my  torment  alone.  You  must 


8*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

write  for  me  a  declaration  that  as  king  I  have  sown  nought  but  the  seed 
of  good,  that  I  have  spoken  nought  save  the  words  of  truth,  that  I  have 
never  frustrated  justice."  All  the  noblemen,  in  fear  of  the  king,  Con- 
sented to  his  demand,  and  all,  old  and  young,  declared  what  the  serpent- 
man  desired. 

But  suddenly  at  the  gate  of  the  palace  was  heard  the  voice  of  one 
crying  out  for  justice.  The  complainant  was  brought  before  the  king, 
who  asked  who  had  done  him  wrong.  The  man  cried  out,  struck  his 
head  with  his  hands  on  seeing  the  monarch,  and  said:  "I  am  Kawa,  O 
king;  I  demand  justice.  Grant  me  justice.  I  have  come  in  haste,  and  it 
is  you  whom  I  accuse  in  the  bitterness  of  my  heart.  I  had  seventeen  sons, 
and  now  there  remains  but  one.  Give  me  back  this  one,  my  only  son; 
think  how  my  heart  will  burn  with  grief,  the  whole  length  of  my  life. 
What  crime  have  I  committed?  Even  tyranny  must  have  a  pretext,  and 
I  am  an  innocent  man,  a  blacksmith.  You  must  render  count  to  me  for 
what  you  have  done,  and  the  world  will  be  astonished  thereby.  It  will 
see,  by  the  account  you  will  render  to  me,  what  my  lot  on  earth  has 
been,  and  how  I  have  been  compelled  to  give  my  sons  to  feid  your 
serpents." 

The  king  looked  harshly  upon  him  on  hearing  these  words,  gave  back 
the  man's  son,  and  strove  to  soothe  him  with  words.  Lastly  he  asked 
Kawa  to  sign  the  declaration  of  the  nobles,  but  he,  trembling  with  rage, 
tore  and  trampled  on  it  and  emerged  shouting  with  a  mighty  anger. 
The  crowd  in  the  market-place  gathered  round  him,  and  to  them  and 
the  whole  world  he  appealed  to  aid  him  in  obtaining  justice.  He  took 
off  the  apron  which  blacksmiths  wear,  tied  it  to  a  lance  and  marched 
through  the  bazaars  crying:  "Illustrious  men,  you  that  adore  God,  who 
desire  to  be  delivered  from  the  clutches  of  Zuhak,  let  us  go  to  Faridun 
and  let  us  rest  in  the  shadow  of  his  sovereignty." 

Having  ascertained  where  Faridun  lay  hiding,  he  set  out  with  a  great 
troop  of  men,  and  after  no  long  time  reached  his  abode.  The  young 
prince  saw  the  standard  made  of  the  blacksmith's  apron,  and  accepted 
it  as  a  good  omen.  Then,  tarrying  only  while  a  suit  of  armor  was  made 
for  him,  he  began  his  march  at  the  head  of  his  army,  which  moved  as 
speedily  as  the  wind.  Soon  they  reached  the  Tigris  River  and  the  city  of 
Baghdad.  Arrived  there,  Faridun  sent  his  greeting  to  the  guardian  of 
the  crossing,  and  said:  "Send  me  boats  and  ships,  that  I  and  my  army 
may  cross."  But  the  guardian  sent  back  answer:  "The  king  has  given 
me  secret  command  that  no  man  may  cross  without  his  sealed  order." 

.  Faridun  heard  the  messenger  with  anger.  The  swift  stream  inspired 
him  with  no  fear,  and  he  with  his  warriors  tightened  girdle  and  plunged 
into  it  with  their  horses.  Having  crossed,  they  made  their  way  to  the 
royal  city  of  Zuhak.  On  coming  within  a  mile  of  it  Faridun  saw  a 
palace  whose  walls  were  raised  higher  than  Saturn,  as  if  it  had  been 


PERSIA— FIRDAWSt  83 

built  to  tear  the  stars  from  the  sky.  It  shone  like  Jupiter  in  the  celestial 
sphere.  From  its  vastness  and  magnificence  Faridun  knew  it  to  be  the 
palace  of  the  monster-king,  and,  turning  to  his  companions,  he  said:  "I 
fear  one  that  has  been  able  from  dust  and  stones  to  rear  so  mighty  a 
structure.  I  fear  some  secret  bond  between  fortune  and  him,  but  it  is 
better  to  fling  ourselves  into  battle  than  to  delay  here."  Thus  he  spoke, 
and,  giving  rein  to  his  spirited  horse,  he  raised  his  club  and  rushed  like 
a  flame  past  the  wardens  of  the  gate  and  into  the  palace.  He  dashed  to 
the  ground  a  talisman  which  Zuhak  had  set  up  against  him,  and  struck 
down  all  that  offered  resistance;  he  placed  his  foot  upon  the  throne  of 
Zuhak,  seized  the  royal  crown,  and  took  his  place. 

A  servant  of  Zuhak  saw  what  had  happened,  and  mounting  a  swift 
horse  brought  the  tale  to  his  master:  "O  king  of  a  proud  people,  there 
are  tokens  that  portend  the  fall  of  your  fortunes.  Three  heroes  have 
come  from  a  strange  land  with  an  army.  The  youngest  remains  always 
between  the  two  elder,  his  stature  is  that  of  a  prince,  his  face  that  of  a 
king.  He  carries  a  mighty  club  like  a  great  rock,  and  he  has  seated  him- 
self upon  the  throne." 

Zuhak,  in  great  haste,  prepared  to  return  with  an  army  of  divs  and 
men.  By  devious  ways  he  flung  his  army  against  the  terraces  and  gates 
of  the  palace,  thinking  of  nought  but  vengeance.  But  the  army  of 
Faridun  and  the  inhabitants  of  the  town  fought  together  in  the  battle, 
and  their  n&ss  was  like  a  mountain. 

Meantime  rage  incited  Zuhak  to  further  enterprise.  Covering  himself 
from  head  to  foot  with  armor,  that  none  might  know  him,  in  the  con- 
fusion he  climbed  unseen  into  the  palace  by  means  of.  a  rope  of  sixty 
cubits.  But  he  was  recognized  and  pursued  and,  in  his  rage,  leaped  from 
the  battlements  to  the  ground.  Faridun  advanced,  swift  as  the  wind, 
and  smote  Zuhak  with  his  club  through  his  helmet  to  his  head.  But  a 
faithful  counselor  held  his  hand,  saying,  "His  time  is  not  yet  come.  He 
is  broken  but  not  dead.  Let  him  be  placed  to  spend  the  rest  of  his  days 
in  the  depths  of  the  rocks,  where  neither  his  friends  nor  his  vassals  can 
find  him." 

So  Faridun  prepared  thongs  of  lion  skin,  and  bound  Zuhak's  hands 
and  feet  and  body,  in  such  manner  that  a  wild  elephant  could  not  have 
broken  the  bonds.  He  bore  the  monster,  thus  tightly  bound,  to  the  height 
of  the  lofty  mountain  of  Damawand,  and  there,  in  a  narrow  bottomless 
chasm,  he  chained  him.  And  there  Zuhak  remains  suspended  until  the  ill 
he  wrought  shall  have  vanished  from  the  earth. 


84  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 


THE  SAILOR  AND  THE  PEARL  MERCHANT 

• 

THE  author  of  the  following  story  is  unknown.  It  was  gathered 
with  others  in  Persia,  brought  to  England  and  presented  to  the 
Bodleian  Library. 

The  Story  of  the  Sailor  and  the  Pearl  Merchant  is  a  splendid 
example  of  the  Persian  story-teller's  fantastic  and  magical  art. 

The  present  version  is  from  a  translation  by  Rueben  Levy,  M.A., 
of  MS.  Ouseley  231,  Bodleian  Library.  Copyright,  1923,  by 
Oxford  University  Press,  by  whose  permission  it  is  here  reprinted. 


THE  SAILOR  AND  THE  PEARL  MERCHANT 

IT  is  related  that  in  the  city  of  Basrah  there  was  a  man,  Abu'l  Fawaris, 
who  was  the  chief  of  the  sailors  of  the  town,  for  in  the  great  ocean 
there  was  no  port  at  which  he  had  not  landed.  One  day,  as  he  sat  on 
the  seashore,  with  his  sailors  round  him,  an  old  man  arrived  in  a  ship, 
landed  where  Abu'l  Fawaris  was  sitting,  and  said:  "Friend,  J.  desire  you 
to  give  me  your  ship  for  six  months,  and  I  will  pay  you  whatever  you 
desire."  "I  demand  a  thousand  gold  dinars,"  said  the  sailor,  and  at  once 
received  the  gold  from  the  old  man,  who,  before  departing,  said  that  he 
would  come  again  on  the  next  day,  and  warned  Abu'l  Fawaris  that 
there  was  to  be  no  holding  back. 

The  sailor  took  home  his  gold,  made  his  ship  ready,  and  then,  taking 
leave  of  his  wife  and  sons,  he  went  down  to  the  shore,  where  he  found 
the  old  man  waiting  for  him  with  a  slave  and  twenty  ass-loads  of  empty 
sacks.  Abu'l  Fawaris  greeted  him,  and  together  they  loaded  the  ship 
and  set  sail.  Taking  a  particular  star  for  their  mark,  they  sailed  for  three 
months,  when  an  island  appeared  to  one  side  of  them.  For  this  the  old 
man  steered,  and  they  soon  landed  upon  it.  Having  loaded  his  slave  with 
some  sacks,  the  old  man  with  his  companions  set  out  towards  a  mountain 
which  they  could  see  in  the  distance.  This  they  reached  after  some  hours 
of  travel,  and  climbed  to  the  summit,  upon  which  they  found  a  broad 
plain  where  more  than  two  hundred  pits  had  been  dug.  The  old  man 
then  explained  to  the  sailor  that  he  was  a  merchant,  and  that  he  had, 
on  that  spot,  found  a  mine  of  jewels.  "Now  that  I  have  given  you  my 
Confidence,"  he  continued,  "I  expect  faithfulness  from  you  too.  I  desire 
you  to  go  down  into  this  pit  and  send  up  sufficient  pearls  to  £11  these 
sacks.  Half  I  will  give  to  you,  and  we  shall  be  able  to  spend  the  rest 
*>f  our  lives  in  luxury,"  The  sailor  thereupon  asked  how  the  pearls  had 


PERSIA— ANONYMOUS  8$ 

found  their  way  into  these  pits,  to  which  the  old  man  replied  that  there 
was  a  passage  connecting  the  pits  with  the  sea.  Along  this  passage  oysters 
swam,  and  settled  in  the  pits,  where  by  chance  he  had  come  upon  them. 
He  explained  further  that  he  had  only  brought,  the  sailor  because  he 
needed  help;  but  he  desired  not  to  disclose  the  matter  to  any  one  else. 

With  great  eagerness  then  the  sailor  descended  into  the  pit,  and  there 
found  oysters  in  great  numbers.  The  old  man  let  down  a  basket  to  him, 
which  he  filled  again  and  again,  until  at  last  the  merchant  cried  out  that 
the  oysters  were  useless,  for  they  contained  no  pearls.  Abu'l  Fawaris 
therefore  left  that  pit,  and  descended  into  another,  where  he  found 
pearls  in  great  number.  By  the  time  night  fell  he  was  utterly  wearied, 
and  called  out  to  the  old  man  to  help  him  out  of  the  pit.  In  reply  the 
merchant  shouted  down  that  he  intended  to  leave  him  in  the  pit,  for  he 
feared  that  Abu'l  Fawaris  might  kill  him  for  the  sake  of  the  jewels. 
With  great  vehemence  the  sailor  protested  that  he  was  innocent  of  any 
such  intention,  but  the  old  man  was  deaf  to  his  entreaties,  and,  making 
his  way  back  to  the  ship,  sailed  away. 

For  Jthree  days  Abu'l  Fawaris  remained,  hungry  and  thirsty.  As  he 
struggled  to  find  a  way  out  he  came  upon  many  human  bones,  and 
understood  that  the  accursed  old  man  had  betrayed  many  others  in  the 
same  fashion.  In  desperation  he  dug  about,  and  at  last  he  saw  a  small 
opening,  wJjich  he  enlarged  with  his  hands.  Soon  it  was  big  enough  for 
him  to  crawl  through,  and  he  found  himself  in  the  darkness,  standing 
upon  mud.  Along  this  he  walked  carefully,  and  then  felt  himself  sud- 
denly plunged  to  his  neck  in  water,  which  was  salt  to  the  taste;  and  he 
knew  that  he  was  in  the  passage  that  led  to  the  sea.  Hq,  swam  along  in 
this  for  some  way,  till,  in  front  of  him,  there  appeared  a  faint  light. 
Greatly  heartened  by  the  sight  of  it,  he  swam  vigorously  until  he  reached 
the  mouth  of  the  passage.  On  emerging,  he  found  himself  facing  the  sea, 
and  threw  himself  on  his  face  to  give  thanks  for  his  delivery.  Then  he 
arose,  and  a  little  distance  from  him  he  found  the  cloak  which  he  had 
left  behind  when  he  set  out  for  the  mountain;  but  of  the  old  merchant 
there  was  no  sign,  and  the  ship  had  disappeared. 

Full  of  trouble  and  despondency,  he  sat  down  at  the  water's  brink, 
wondering  what  he  was  to  do.  As  he  gazed  at  the  sea  there  came  into 
view  a  ship,  and  he  saw  that  it  was  filled  with  men.  At  sight  of  it  the 
sailor  leaped  from  his  place;  snatching  his  turban  from  his  head,  he 
waved  it  with  all  his  might  in  the  air,  and  shouted  at  the  top  of  his 
voice.  But  as  they  approached  he  decided  not  to  tell  his  rescuers  the  truth 
ef  his  presence  there;  therefore  when  they  landed  and  asked  how  he 
came  to  be  on  the  island  he  told  them  that  his  ship,  had  been  wrecked  at 
sea,  that  he  had  clung  to  a  plank  and  been  washed  to  the  shore. 

They  praised  his  good  fortune  at  his  escape,  and  in  reply  to  his  ques- 
tions with  regard  to  the  place  of  their  .origin,  told  him  that  they  had 


86  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

sailed  from  Abyssinia,  and  were  then  on  their  way  to  Hindustan.  At 
this,  Abu'l  Fawaris  hesitated,  saying  that  he  had  no  business  in  Hin- 
dustan. They  assured  him,  however,  that  they  would  meet  ships  going 
to  Basrah,  and  would  hand  him  over  to  one  of  them.  He  agreed  then  to 
go  with  them,  and  for  forty  days  they  sailed  without  seeing  any  inhabited 
spot.  At  last  he  asked  them  whether  they  had  not  mistaken  their  way, 
and  they  admitted  that  for  five  days  they  had  been  sailing  without  know- 
ing whither  they  were  going  or  what  direction  to  follow.  All  together 
therefore  set  themselves  to  praying,  and  remained  in  prayer  for  some 
time. 

Soon  afterwards,  as  they  sailed,  something  in  appearance  like  a  minaret 
emerged  from  the  sea,  and  they  seemed  to  behold  the  flash  of  a  Chinese 
mirror.  Also  they  perceived  that  their  ship,  without  their  rowing,  and 
without  any  greater  force  of  wind,  began  to  move  at  great  speed  over 
the  water.  In  great  amazement  the  sailors  ran  to  Abu'l  Fawaris  and  asked 
him  what  had  come  to  the  ship  that  it  moved  so  fast.  He  raised  his  eyes, 
and  groaned  deeply  as  in  the  distance  he  saw  a  mountain  that  rose  out 
of  the  sea.  In  terror  he  clapped  his  hand  to  his  eyes  and  should  out: 
"We  shall  all  perish!  My  father  continually  warned  me  that  if  ever 
I  lost  my  way  upon  the  sea  I  must  steer  to  the  East;  for  if  I  went  to 
the  West  I  would  certainly  fall  into  the  Lion's  Mouth.  When  I  asked 
him  what  the  Lion's  Mouth  was,  he  told  me  that  the  Almighty  had 
created  a  great  hole  in  the  midst  of  the  ocean,  at  the  foot  of  a  mountain. 
That  is  the  Lion's  Mouth.  Over  a  hundred  leagues  of  water  it  will  attract 
a  ship,  and  no  vessel  which  encounters  the  mountain  ever  rises  again.  I 
believe  that  this  is  the  place  and  that  we  are  caught." 

In  great  terror  the  sailors  saw  their  ship  being  carried  like  the  wind 
against  the  mountain.  Soon  it  was  caught  in  the  whirlpool,  where  the 
wrecks  of  ten  thousand  ancient  ships  were  being  carried  around  in  the 
swirling  current.  The  sailors  and  merchants  in  the  ship  crowded  to  Abu'l 
Fawaris,  begging  him  to  tell  them  what  they  could  do.  He  cried  out  to 
them  to  prepare  all  the  ropes  which  they  had  in  the  ship;  he  would  then 
swim  out  of  the  whirlpool  and  on  to  the  shore  at  the  foot  of  the  moun- 
tain, where  he  would  make  fast  to  some  stout  tree.  Then  they  were  to 
cast  their  ropes  to  him  and  so  he  would  rescue  them  from  their  peril. 
By  great  good  fortune  the  current  cast  him  out  upon  the  shore,  and  he 
made  the  rope  of  his  ship  fast  to  a  stout  tree. 

Then,  as  soon  as  was  possible,  the  sailor  climbed  to  the  top  of  the 
mountain  in  search  of  food,  for  neither  he  nor  his  shipmates  had  eaten 
for  some  days.  When  he  reached  the  summit  he  found  a  pleasant  plain 
stretching  away  in  front  of  him,  and  in  the  midst  of  it  he  saw  a  lofty 
arch,  made  of  green  stone.  As  he  -approached  it  and  entered,  he  observed 
a  tall  pillar  made  of  steel,  from  which  there  hung  by  a  chain  a  great 
drum  of  Damascus  bronze  covered  with  a  lion's  skin.  From  the  arch 


PERSIA— ANONYMOUS  87 

also  hung  a  great  tablet  of  bronze,  upon  which  was  engraved  the  fol- 
lowing inscription:  "O  thou  that  dost  reach  this  place,  know  that  when 
Alexander  voyaged  round  the  world  and  reached  the  Lion's  Mouth,  he 
had  been  made  aware  of  this  place  of  calamity.  He  was  therefore  accom- 
panied by  four  thousand  wise  men,  whom  he  summoned  and  whom  he 
commanded  to  provide  a  means  of  escape  from  this  calamitous  spot. 
For  long  the  philosophers  pondered  on  the  matter,  until  at  last  Plato 
caused  this  drum  to  be  made,  whose  quality  is  that  if  any  one,  being 
caught  in  the  whirlpool,  can  come  forth  and  strike  the  drum  three 
times,  he  will  bring  out  his  ship  to  the  surface." 

When  the  sailor  had  read  the  inscription,  he  quickly  made  his  way  to 
the  shore  and  told  his  fellows  of  it.  After  much  debate  he  agreed  to 
risk  his  life  by  staying  on  the  island  and  striking  the  drum,  on  condition 
that  they  would  return  to  Basrah  on  their  escape,  and  give  to  his  wife 
and  sons  one-half  of  what  treasure  they  had  in  the  ship.  He  bound  them 
with  an  oath  to  do  this,  and  then  returned  to  the  arch.  Taking  up  a 
club  he  struck  the  drum  three  times,  and  as  the  mighty  roar  of  it  echoed 
from  tSe  hills,  the  ship,  like  an  arrow  shot  from  a  bow,  was  flung  out 
of  the  whirlpool.  Then,  with  a  cry  of  farewell  to  Abu'l  Fawaris  from 
the  crew,  they  sailed  to  Basrah,  where  they  gave  one-half  the  treasure 
which  they  had  to  the  sailor's  family. 

With  gr^at  mourning  the  wife  and  family  of  Abu'l  Fawaris  cele- 
brated his  loss;  but  he,  after  sleeping  soundly  in  the  archway  and  giving 
thanks  to  his  Maker  for  preserving  him  alive,  made  his  way  again  to  the 
summit  of  the  mountain.  As  he  advanced  across  the  plain  he  saw  black 
smoke  arising  from  it,  and  also  in  the  plain  were  rivers,  of  which  he 
passed  nine.  He  was  like  to  die  of  hunger  and  weariness,  when  suddenly 
he  perceived  on  one  side  a  meadow,  in  which  flocks  of  sheep  were  graz- 
ing. In  great  joy  he  thought  that  he  was  at  last  reaching  human  habi- 
tation, and  as  he  came  towards  the  sheep,  he  saw  with  them  a  youth, 
tall  in  stature  as  a  mountain,  and  covered  with  a  tattered  cloak  of  red 
felt,  though  his  head  and  body  were  clad  in  mail.  The  sailor  greeted 
him,  and  received  greeting  in  reply,  and  also  the  question  "Whence  come 
you?"  Abu'l  Fawaris  answered  that  he  was  a  man  upon  whom  catas- 
trophe had  fallen,  and  so  related  his  adventures  to  the  shepherd.  He 
heard  it  with  a  laugh,  and  said:  "Count  yourself  fortunate  to  have 
escaped  from  that  abyss.  Do  not  fear  now,  I  will  bring  you  to  a  vil- 
lage." Saying  this  he  set  bread  and  milk  before  him  and  bade  him  eat. 
When  he  had  eaten  he  said:  "You  cannot  remain  here  all  day,  I  will 
take  you  to  my  house,  where  you  may  rest  for  a  time." 

Together  they  descended  to  the  foot  of  the  mountain,  where  stood  a 
gateway.  Against  it  leaned  a  mighty  stone,  which  a  hundred  men  could 
not  have  lifted,  but  the  shepherd,  putting  his  hand  into  a  hole  in  die 
stone,  lifted  it  away  from  .the  gateway  and  admitted  Abu'l  Fawaris. 


SS  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  T«E  WORLD 

Then  he  restored  the  stone  to  its  place,  and  continued  on  his  way. 

When  the  sailor  had  passed  through  the  gateway  he  saw  before  him 
a  beautiful  garden  in  which  were  trees  laden  with  fruit.  In  the  mjdst 
of  them  was  a  kiosk,  and  this,  the  sailor  thought,  must  be  the  shepherd's 
house.  He  entered  and  looked  about  from  the  roof,  but  though  he  saw 
many  houses  there  was  no  person  in  sight.  He  descended  therefore,  and 
walked  to  the  nearest  house,  which  he  entered.  Upon  crossing  the 
threshold  he  beheld  ten  men,  all  naked  and  all  so  fat  that  their  eyes 
were  almost  closed.  With  their  heads  down  upon  their  knees,  all  were 
weeping  bitterly.  But  at  the  sound  of  his  footsteps  they  raised  their  heads 
and  called  out  "Who  are  you?"  He  told  them  that  the  shepherd  had 
brought  him  and  offered  him  hospitality.  A  great  cry  arose  from  them 
as  they  heard  this.  "Here,"  they  said,  "is  another  unfortunate  who  has 
fallen,  like  ourselves,  into  the  clutch  of  this  monster.  He  is  a  vile  crea- 
ture, who  in  the  guise  of  a  shepherd  goes  about  and  seizes  men  and 
devours  them.  We  are  all  merchants  whom  adverse  winds  have  brought 
here.  That  div  has  seized  us  and  keeps  us  in  this  fashion." 

With  a  groan  the  sailor  thought  that  now  at  last  he  was  tmdone. 
At  that  moment  he  saw  the  shepherd  coming,  saw  him  let  the  sheep  into 
the  garden,  and  then  close  the  gateway  with  the  stone  before  entering 
the  kiosk.  He  was  carrying  a  bag  full  of  almonds,  dates,  and  pistachio 
nuts,  with  which  he  approached,  and,  giving  it  to  the  sailor,  Jie  told  him 
to  share  it  with  the  others.  Abu'l  Fawaris  could  say  nothing,  but  sat 
down  and  ate  the  food  with  his  companions.  When  they  had  finished 
their  meal,  the  shepherd  returned  to  them,  took  one  of  them  by  the 
hand,  and  then  in  sight  of  them  all,  slew,  roasted,  and  devoured  him. 
When  he  was  sated,  he  brought  out  a  skin  of  wine  and  drank  until  he 
fell  into  a  drunken  sleep. 

Then  the  sailor  turned  to  his  companions  and  said:  "Since  I  am  to 
die,  let  me  first  destroy  him;  if  you  will  give  me  your  help,  I  will  do 
so."  They  replied  that  they  had  no  strength  left;  but  he,  seeing  the  two 
long  spits  on  which  the  ogre  had  roasted  his  meat,  put  them  into  the 
fire  until  they  were  red  hot,  and  then  plunged  them  into  the  monster's 
eyes.  ' 

With  a  great  cry  the  shepherd  leaped  up  and  tried  to  seize  his  tor* 
mentor,  who  sprang  away  and  eluded  him.  Running  to  the  stone,  the 
shepherd  moved  it  aside  and  began  to  let  out  the  sheep  one  by  one,  in 
tile  hope  that  when  the  garden  was  emptier  he  could  the  more  easily 
capture  the  sailor.  Abu'l  Fawaris  understood  his  intention:  without  delay, 
he  slew  a  sheep,  put  on  the  skin  and  tried  to  pass  through.  But  the  shep* 
herd  knew  as  soon  as  he  felt  him  that  this  was  not  a  sheep,  and  leaped 
after  him  in  pursuit.  Abu'l  Fawaris  flung  off  the  pelt,  and  ran  like  the 
wind;  Soon  lie  came  to  the  sea,  and  into  this  he  plunged,  while  th« 
,  shepherd  after  a  few  steps  returned  to  the  shore,  for  lie  could  not  swim. 


PERSIA— ANONYMOUS  89 

Full  of  terror  the  sailor  swam  till  he  reached  the  other  side  of  the 
mountain.  There  he  met  an  old  man  who  greeted  him,  and,  after  hear- 
ing his  adventure,  fed  him  and  took  him  to  his  house.  But  soon,  'to  his 
hortror,  Abu'l  Fawaris  found  that  this  old  man  also  was  an  ogre.  With 
great  cunning  he  told  the  ogre's  wife  that  he  could  make  many  useful 
implements  for  her  house,  and  she  persuaded  her  husband  to  save  him. 
After  many  days  in  the  house,  he  was  sent  away  to  the  care  of  a  shep- 
herd, and  put  to  guard  sheep.  Day  by  day  he  planned  to  escape,  but  there 
was  only  one  way  across  the  mountain  and  that  was  guarded. 

One  day,  as  he  wandered  in  a  wood,  he  found  in  the  hollow  trunk 
of  a  tree  a  store  of  honey,  of  which  he  told  the  shepherd's  wife  when 
he  went  home.  The  next  day,  therefore,  the  woman  sent  her  husband 
with  Abu'l  Fawaris,  telling  him  to  bring  home  some  of  the  honey;  but, 
on  the  way,  the  sailor  leaped  upon  him  and  bound  him  to  a  tree.  Then, 
taking  the  shepherd's  ring,  he  returned  and  told  the  woman  that  her 
husband  had  given  him  leave  to  go,  and  that  he  sent  his  ring  in  token 
of  this.  But  the  woman  was  cunning  and  asked:  "Why  did  not  my 
husbanjl  come  himself  to  tell  me  this?"  Seizing  him  by  the  cloak,  she 
told  him  that  she  would  go  with  him  and  find  out  the  truth.  The  sailor, 
however,  tore  himself  free,  and  again  fled  to  the  sea,  where  he  thought 
that  he  might  escape  death.  In  haste  and  terror  he  swam  for  many 
hours,  until  at  last  he  espied  a  ship  full  of  men,  who  steered  towards 
him  and  tobk  him  on  board.  Full  of  wonder  they  asked  how  he  came 
there,  and  he  related  to  them  all  his  adventures. 

It  happened  by  great  good  fortune  that  the  ship's  captain  had  business 
at  one  place  only  on  the  coast,  and  that  from  there  he  was  sailing  to 
Basrah.  In  the  space  of  a  month,  therefore,  Abu'l  Fawaris  was  restored 
to  his  family,  to  the  joy  of  them  all. 

The  many  dangers  and  sufferings  of  the  sailor  had  turned  his  hair 
white.  For  many  days  he  rested,  and  then,  one  day,  as  he  walked  by  the 
seashore,  that  same  old  man  who  had  before  hired  his  ship  again  ap- 
peared. Without  recognizing  him,  he  asked  if  he  would  lend  his  ship  on 
hire  for  six  months.  Abu'l  Fawaris  agreed  to  do  so  for  a  thousand  dinars 
of  gold,  which  the  old  man  at  once  paid  to  him,  saying  that  he  would 
come  in  a  boat  on  the  morrow,  ready  to  depart. 

When  the  ancient  departed,  the  sailor  took  honu  the  money  to  his 
wife,  who  bade  him  beware  not  to  cast  himself  again  into  danger.  He 
replied  that  he  must  be  avenged  not  only  for  himself,  but  also  for  the 
thousand  Muslims  whom  the  villainous  old  man  had  slain. 

The  next  day,  therefore,  the  sailor  took  on  board  the  old  man  and  a 
black  slave,  and  for  three  months  they  sailed,  until  they  once  more 
reached  the  island  of  pearls.  There  they  made  fast  the  ship  on  the  shore, 
and  taking  sacks,  they  ascended  to  the  top  of  the  mountain.  Once  arrived 
there,  the  old  man  made  the  same  request  to  Abu'l  Fawaris  as  before, 


90  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

namely,  that  he  should  go  down  into  die  pits  and  send  up  pearls.  The 
sailor  replied  that  he  was  unacquainted  with  the  place,  and  preferred 
that  the  old  man  should  go  down  first,  in  order  to  prove  that  there  was 
no  danger.  He  answered  that  there  was  surely  no  danger;  he  had  never 
in  his  life  harmed  even  an  ant,  and  he  would  of  a  certainty  never  send 
Abu'l  Fawaris  down  into  the  pits  if  he  knew  any  peril  lay  there.  But 
die  sailor  was  obstinate,  saying  that  until  he  knew  how  to  carry  it  out, 
he  could  not  undertake  the  task. 

Very  reluctantly,  therefore,  the  old  man  allowed  himself  to  be  lowered 
into  the  first  pit  by  a  basket  and  a  rope.  He  filled  the  basket  with  oysters 
and  sent  it  up,  crying  out:  "You  see,  there  is  nothing  to  do  harm  in  this 
pit.  Draw  me  up  now,  for  I  am  an  old  man  and  have  no  more  strength 
left."  The  sailor  replied,  "Now  that  you  are  there,  it  were  better  if  you 
remained  there  to  complete  your  task.  To-morrow  I  myself  will  go  into 
another  pit  and  will  send  up  so  many  pearls  as  to  fill  the  ship.'9  For  a 
long  time  the  old  man  worked,  sending  up  pearls,  and  at  last  he  cried 
out  again,  "O  my  brother,  I  am  utterly  wearied,  draw  me  out  now." 
Then  the  sailor  turned  upon  him  with  fury,  and  cried  out:  "H^w  is  it 
that  thou  dost  see  ever  thine  own  trouble  and  never  that  of  others?  Thou 
misbegotten  dog,  art  thou  blind  that  thou  dost  not  know  me?  I  am  Abu'l 
Fawaris,  the  sailor,  whom  long  ago  you  left  in  one  of  these  pits.  By  the 
favor  of  Allah  I  was  delivered,  and  now  it  is  your  turn.  Open  your  eyes 
to  the  truth  and  remember  what  you  have  done  to  so  many^nen."  The 
old  man  cried  aloud  for  mercy,  but  it  availed  him  nothing,  for  Abu'l 
Fawaris  brought  a  great  stone  and  covered  up  the  mouth  of  the  pit.  The 
slave  too  he  overwhelmed  with  threats,  and  then  together  they  carried 
down  the  pearls  to  the  ship,  in  which  they  set  sail.  In  three  months  they 
arrived  at  Basrah.  There  Abu'l  Fawaris  related  his  adventures,  to  the 
amazement  of  all.  Thenceforward  he  abandoned  the  sea  and  adopted  a 
life  of  ease.  Finally  he  died,  and  this  story  remains  in  memory  of  him. 
And  Allah  knoweth  best. 


Arabia 


INTRODUCTION 

THE  literature  of  the  Arabs  originated  in  the  improvisations  of  stories 
and  poems  among  the  pre-Mohammedan  inhabitants  of  Arabia. 
These  were  the  oral  recitations  of  the  people,  transmitted  from  genera- 
tion to  generation.  It  is  improbable  that  anything  was  actually  collected 
and  reduced  to  writing  before  the  Ninth  or  Tenth  Century  A.D., 
although  some  time  during  the  Ninth  Century  Al-Asma'i  brought  to- 
gether the  elements  that  make  up  the  Romance  of  Antar,  one  of  the 
stories '  from  which  is  here  reprinted.  This  coloured  and  romantic 
accumulation  of  poetic  stories  and  legends  is  the  great  epic  of  Arabian 
literature. 

The  Arabs  are  noted  for  their  nomadic  existence,  but  there  were  also 
town  dweMers  in  Arabia  who  appreciated  a  less  simple  story  than  the 
recitations  of  the  wandering  inhabitants  of  the  desert  and  therefore  im- 
ported several  cycles  or  collections  of  tales,  of  which  the  supreme  master- 
piece is  the  celebrated  Thousand  Nights  and  One  Night,  better  known 
as  the  Thousand  and  One  Nights,  or  simply  the  Arabian  Nights.  These 
famous  tales  had  been  translated  from  the  Sanskrit  (with  certain  elabo- 
rations) into  the  Persian,  from  which  the  Arabs  borrowed  them,  though 
they  added  so  much  in  the  way  of  details  and  literary  style  that  the 
collection  may  be  considered  an  original  contribution.  These  made  their 
appearance  in  the  Arabic  somewhere  between  the  Tenth  and  Fourteenth 
Centuries  of  our  epoch. 

It  is  hazardous  to  attribute  to  any  one  person  the  actual  invention  of 
a  literary  form,  but  it  is  customary  to  designate  Hamadhani  (968-1054) 
as  the  first  writer  of  stories  in  Arabic.  His  art  was  practised  and  im- 
proved upon  by  Al-Hariri  (1054-1122),  whose  Lectures  constitute  an 
imposing  array  of  fanciful  tales.  The  Golden  Meadows  of  Mas'udi, 
composed  during  the  Tenth  Century,  are  interesting  rather  as  commen- 
taries upon  contemporary  life  and  manners  than  as  tales. 

After  the  appearance  of  the  Arabian  Nights,  there  was  little  more  in 
Arabian  literature  in  the  way  of  short  stories  to  be  added.  Modern  litera- 
ture is  of  relatively  little  importance. 

The  Arabian  tale,  although  it  was  not  altogether  indigenous,  has  estab- 


9*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

'*/-!     , 

lished  itself ,  at  least  in  the  minds  of  Occidentals,  as  a  sort  of  symbol  of 
the  romance  of  the  Orient.  There  was  a  gorgeousness  of  local  color,  a 
riot  of  sensuous  imagery  in  the  best  of  the  Arabian  stories,  that  later 
writers  have  sought  in  vain  to  imitate.  • 


AL-ASMA'I 

(9th  Century,  A.D.) 

PRACTICALLY  nothing  is  known  of  the  collector  of  the  material  that 
makes  up  the  epical  Romance  of  An  far.  K haled  end  Djaida,  which 
is  taken  from  that  epic,  is  not  so  finished  and  skilful  a  narrative  as 
the  best  of  the  tales  in  the  Arabian  Nights:  it  belongs  rather  to 
the  type  of  episode  which  Homer  introduced  into  the  Odyssey,  or 
the  author  of  Beowulf  into  that  work.  Yet  there  is  in  it  that  ele- 
ment of  wonder  which  the  world's  great  story-tellers  knew  s£ 
well  how  to  use,  and  a  certain  delicate  art  that  spins  out  an  inci- 
dent to  the  delight  of  idle  listeners. 

The  present  text  is  based  upon  the  translation  by  T.  Hamilton: 
A  Bedoueen  Romance,  London,  1820.  There  is  no  title  to  the 
original  story.  » 


KHALED  AND  DJAIDA 
(From  The  Romance  of  Antar) 

|"OHARIB  and  Zahir  were  two  brothers,  by  the  same  father  and 
mother;   the  Arabians  call  them   "germane."   Both  were  emi- 
nent for  their  courage  and  daring.  But  Moharib  was  chief  of  the  clan, 
and  Zahir  was  his  minister,  subject  to  his  authority,  giving  him  counsel 
-  and  advice.  It  happened  that  a  violent  dispute  and  quarrel  arose  between 
them.  Zahir  retired  to  his  tent,  sorrowing  and  not  knowing  what  to 
do.  "What  is  the  matter  with  you?"  demanded  his  wife.  "Why  are  you 
troubled?  What  has  happened?  Has  anyone  displeased  or  insulted  you— 
the  greatest  of  Arabian  chiefs?"  "What  am  I  to  do?"  said  Zahir;  "he 
who  has  injured  me  is  one  I  cannot  lay  hands  on,  or  wrong;  my  com- 
panion in  private,  my  brother  in  the  world.  Oh,  if  it  had  been  any  other, 
K,  I  would  have  shown  him  what  kind  of  man  he  was  at  odds  with,  and 
i  made  an  example  of  him  before  the  chiefs  of  our  people!"  "Leave 
'u;{faim  in  the  enjoyment  of  his  possessions,"  cried  his  wife,  and,  to  persuade 


ARABIA— AL-ASMA'I  9$ 

her  husband  to  do  this,  she  recited  verses  from  a  contemporary  poet, 
dissuading  a  man  from  accepting  an  insult  even  from  his  parents. 

Zahir  accepted  the  advice  of  his  wife.  He  made  preparations  for 
departure,  took  down  his  tents,  loaded  his  camels,  and  started  off  towards 
the  camp  of  the  Saad  clan,  with  whom  he  was  allied.  Nevertheless, 
he  felt  a  pang  at  separating  himself  from  his  brother — and  thus  he 
spoke:  "On  starting  a  journey  which  takes  me  from  you,  I  shall  seem 
a  thousand  years  on  the  way,  each  year  carrying  me  a  thousand  leagues. 
.  .  .  Even  though  the  favors  you  heap  upon  me  be  worth  a  thousand 
Egypts,  and  each  Egypt  had  a  thousand  Niles,  they  would  all  be  despised. 
I  shall  be  happy  with  little  so  long  as  I  am  far  from  you.  In  my  absence, 
I  shall  recite  this  verse,  which  is  worth  more  than  a  necklace  of  fine 
pearls:  'When  a  man  is  insulted  on  the  soil  of  his  clan,  there  is  nothing 
to  do  but  to  leave  it;  you,  who  have  so  wickedly  injured  me,  ere  long 
shall  feel  the  power  of  the  beneficent  divinity,  for  he  is  your  judge  and 
mine,  unchangeable  and  everlasting.' " 

Zahir  proceeded  on  his  journey,  until  he  reached  the  Saad  tribe,  and 
dismounted  from  his  horse.  He  was  cordially  welcomed  and  pressed  to 
dwell  'among  them.  His  wife  was  soon  to  become  a  mother,  and  he  said 
to  her:  "If  a  son.be  given  us,  he  will  be  welcome;  but  if  it  be  a 
daughter,  conceal  her  sex,  and  allow  people  to  think  we  have  a  boy,  so 
that  my  brother  may  have  no  reason  to  crow  over  us."  When  her  time 
came  Zahar's  wife  brought  forth  a  daughter.  They  agreed  that  her  name 
should  be  Djaida,  but  that  in  public  she  should  be  known  as  Djonder, 
that  people  might  think  her  a  boy.  In  order  to  promote  this  belief,  they 
feasted  and  entertained  early  and  late  for  many  days. 

About  the  same  time  Moharib,  the  other  brother,  had  a  son  born  to 
him,  whom  he  called  Khaled.  He  chose  this  name  out  of  gratitude  to 
God,  because,  since  his  brother's  departure,  his  affairs  had  prospered. 

The  two  children  in  time  reached  maturity,  and  their  fame  spread 
far  and  wide  among  the  Arabians.  Zahir  had  taught  his  daughter  to  ride 
horseback,  and  trained  her  in  all  the  accomplishments  fitting  to  a  brave 
and  daring  warrior.  He  accustomed  her  to  the  severest  labor,  and  the 
most  perilous  enterprises.  When  he  went  to  war,  he  put  her  among  the 
other  Arabs  of  the  clan,  and  among  these  horsemen  she  soon  took  her 
rank  as  one  of  the  most  valiant  of  them.  And  thus  it  came  to  pass  that 
she  outstripped  all  her  comrades,  and  would  even  attack  the  lions  in 
their  dens.  At  last  her  name  inspired  the  greatest  terror;  when  she  had 
conquered  a  champion  she  never  failed  to  cry  out:  "I  am  Djonder,  son 
of  Zahir,  horseman  of  the  clans."  > 

For  his  part,  her  cousin  Khaled  distinguished  himself  likewise 
his  brilliant*  courage.  His  father  Moharib,  a  wise  and  prudent 
tain,  had  built  places  of  entertainment  for  strangers;  and  horsemen  ^ 
found  a  welcome  there.  TChaled  had  grown  up  in  the  company  of 


94  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

riots,  In  tills  school  his  spirit  had  been  moulded,  here  he  had  learned  to 
ride,  and  had  become  at  last  an  intrepid  warrior,  and  a  fear-inspiring 
hero.  It  was  soon  perceived  by  the  army  that  his  spirit  and  valor  were 
unconquerable.  • 

Now  at  last  he  heard  news  of  his  cousin  Djondcr,  and  his  eagerness 
to  see  and  know  him  and  witness  his  skill  in  arms  became  extreme.  But 
he  was  unable  to  satisfy  this  desire  because  of  the  dislike  his  father 
showed  for  his  cousin,  his  uncle's  son.  Khaled's  curiosity  remained  unsat- 
isfied until  the  death  of  his  father  Moharib,  which  put  him  in  possession 
of  rank,  riches  and  land.  He  followed  the  example  of  his  father  in 
entertaining  strangers,  protecting  the  weak  and  unfortunate,  and  giving 
clothing  to  the  naked.  He  continued  also  to  sweep  the  plains  on  horse- 
back in  company  with  his  warriors,  and  thus  became  greater  in  bodily 
strength  and  courage.  After  some  time,  gathering  together  a  number  of 
precious  gifts,  he  set  out,  in  company  with  his  mother,  to  visit  his  uncle. 
He  did  not  draw  rein  until  he  reached  the  dwelling  of  Zahir,  who  was 
very  glad  to  see  him,  and  made  magnificent  preparations  for  his  enter- 
tainment; for  the  uncle  had  heard  news  on  several  occasions  of  his 
nephew's  worth  and  valor.  Khaled  also  visited  his  cousin.  He  saluted 
her,  pressed  her  to  his  bosom,  and  kissed  her  forehead,  thinking  that  she 
was  a  young  man.  He  felt  the  keenest  pleasure  when  he  was  in  her 
company,  and  remained  for  ten  days  with  his  uncle,  taking  part  in  the 
tournaments  and  contests  of  horsemen  and  warriors.  As  for  fcis  cousin, 
the  moment  she  had  seen  how  handsome  and  valiant  Khaled  was,  she 
fell  violently  in  love  with  him.  She  was  unable  to  sleep;  she  could  not 
eat;  and  her  love  drew  to  such  a  pitch  that  feeling  her  heart  completely 
lost  to  him,  she  spoke  to  her  mother,  saying:  "Oh,  mother,  if  my  cousin 
should  leave  without  taking  me  with  him,  I  shall  die  of  grief  at  his 
absence."  Then  her  mother  was  touched  with  pity  for  her,  and  spoke 
no  reproaches,  feeling  that  they  would  be  in  vain.  "Djaida,"  she  said, 
^conceal  your  feelings,  and  restrain  yourself  from  grief.  You  have  done 
nothing  wrong,  for  your  cousin  is  the  man  of  your  choice,  and  is  of 
your  own  race  and  blood.  Like  him,  you  are  beautiful  and  attractive; 
like  him,  brave  and  skilful  in  horsemanship.  To-morrow  morning,  when 
his  mother  comes  to  us,  I  will  lay  before  her  the  whole  matter;  we  will 
soon  afterwards  give  you  to  him  in  marriage,  and  at  last  we  shall  all 
return  to  our  own  country." 

Zahir's  wife  waited  patiently  until  the  following  morning,  when 
Khaled's  mother  arrived.  She  then  presented  her  daughter,  whose  head 
she  uncovered  so  as  to  allow  the  hair  to  fall  over  her  shoulders.  At  the 
sight  of  such  charms  Khaled's  mother  was  immeasurably  astonished,  and 
exclaimed:  "What!  is  not  this  your  son  Djonder?"  "No!  it  is  Djaida — 
.tfcehold,  the  moon  of  beauty!  She  at  last  has  risen."  She  then  went  on  to 
her  all  that  had  passed  between  herself  and  her  husband,  and  how 


ARABIA— AL-ASMA'I  95 

and  why  they  had  concealed  the  sex  of  their  child.  "Dear  kinswoman/' 
answered  Khaled's  mother,  still  quite  surprised,  "among  all  the  daughters 
of  Arabia  who  have  been  famed  for  their  beauty  I  have  never  seen 
one  more  lovely  than  this  one.  What  is  her  name?"  "I  have  already  told 
you  that  her  name  is  Djaida,  and  my  special  purpose  in  telling  you  the 
secret  is  to  offer  you  these  charms,  for  I  ardently  wish  to  marry  my 
daughter  to  your  son,  so  that  we  may  all  be  able  to  return  to  our  own 
land."  Khaled's  mother  at  once  assented  to  this  proposal,  and  said:  "The 
possession  of  Djaida  will  surely  render  my  son  very  happy."  She  rose 
immediately  and  went  to  look  for  Khaled,  and  told  him  all  that  she 
had  seen  and  learned,  not  failing  to  praise  especially  the  charms  of 
Djaida.  "By  the  faith  of  an  Arab,"  said  she,  "never,  oh,  son,  have  I 
seen  in  the  desert,  or  in  any  city,  a  girl  like  your  cousin;  not  even  the 
most  beautiful.  Nothing  is  so  perfect  as  she,  nothing  lovelier  and  more 
attractive.  Hasten,  my  son,  to  see  your  uncle  and  ask  him  for  his  daugh- 
ter in  marriage.  You  will  be  happy  indeed  if  he  grants  your  prayer. 
Go,  my  son,  and  waste  no  time  in  winning  her." 

On  hearing  these  words  Khaled  cast  his  eyes  on  the  ground;  and 
remained  for  some  time  thoughtful  and  gloomy.  Then  he  answered: 
"Mother,  I  cannot  remain  here  longer.  I  must  return  home  in  company 
with  my  horsemen  and  troops.  I  have  no  intention  of  saying  more  to 
my  cousin;  I  am  convinced  that  she  is  a  girl  whose  temper  and  phi- 
losophy ane  uncertain;  her  character  and  mode  of  speech  are  destitute 
of  stability  and  propriety.  I  have  always  been  accustomed  to  live  with 
warriors,  on  whom  I  spend  my  wealth,  and  with  whom  I  win  a  soldier's 
fame.  As  for  my  cousin's  love  for  me,  it  is  the  weakness  of  a  woman, 
a  young  girl."  He  then  put  on  his  armor,  mounted  his  horse,  bade  his 
uncle  farewell,  and  announced  his  intention  of  leaving  on  the  moment. 
"What  means  this  haste?"  cried  Zahir.  "I  can  remain  here  no  longer," 
answered  Khaled,  and,  putting  his  horse  to  a  gallop,  he  plunged  into 
the  wilderness.  His  mother,  after  relating  to  Djaida  the  conversation 
she  had  had  with  her  son,  mounted  a  camel  and  proceeded  on  her  way 
towards  her  own  country. 

The  sensitive  soul  of  Djaida  felt  keenly  this  indignity.  She  brooded 
over  it — sleepless  and  without  appetite.  Some  days  afterwards,  as  her 
father  was  preparing  to  make  a  foray  with  his  horsemen  against  his 
enemies,  his  glance  fell  on  Djaida,  and  seeing  how  changed  she  was  in 
face,  and  dejected  in  spirit,  he  refrained  from  saying  anything,  thinking 
and  hoping  that  she  would  surely  become  herself  again  after  a  short  time. 

Scarcely  was  Zahir  out  of  sight  of  his  tents,  when  Djaida,  who  felt 
herself  nigh  unto  death,  and  whose  melancholy  was  quite  insupportable, 
said  to  her  mother:  "Mother,  I  feel  that  I  am  dying,  while  this  misera- 
ble Khaled  is  still  in  the  vigor  of  life.  I  should  like,  if  God  grants  me, 
the  power,  to  make  him  experience  the  fury  of  death,  the  bitterness  of 


$6       ,         GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

St»  paag^and  torture/'  So  saying,  she  rose  like  a  lioness,  donned  her  armor, 
and  mounted  her  horse,  informing  her  mother  she  was  going  on  a  hunting 
Swiftly,  and  without  stopping,  she  made  her  way  over  rocks 


and  fountains,  her  excitement  increasing  as  she  approached  the  dwelling- 
place  of  her  cousin.  As  she  was  disguised,  she  entered,  without  being 
recognized,  into  the  tent  where  strangers  were  received.  But  her  visor 
.was  lowered,  like  that  of  a  horseman  of  Hijaz.  Slaves  and  servants 
welcomed  her,  offered  her  hospitality,  behaving  towards  her  as  to  one 
of  the  guests,  and  the  most  noble  personages  of  the  country.  That  night 
Djaida  took  rest;  but  the  following  day  she  took  part  in  the  military 
exercises,  challenged  many  warriors,  and  exhibited  so  much  skill  and 
bravery,  that  she  called  forth  great  astonishment  among  all  the  spectators. 
Long  before  midday  the  horsemen  of  her  cousin  were  forced  to  acknowl- 
edge her  superiority  over  themselves.  Khaled  wished  to  witness  her 
prowess,  and,  astonished  at  the  sight  of  such  skill,  he  offered  to  match 
.himself  with  her.  Djaida  entered  the  contest  with  him,  and  then  both  of 
them  joining  in  combat  tried,  one  after  another,  all  the  methods  of 
attack  and  defense,  until  the  shades  of  night  came  upon  them.  When 
they  separated  neither  one  was  hurt,  and  none  could  say  which  rfas  the 
victor.  Thus  Djaida,  while  rousing  the  admiration  of  the  spectators,  per- 
ceived the  annoyance  they  felt  on  finding  their  chief  equaled  in  fight  by 
so  skilful  ail  opponent.  Khaled  ordered  his  antagonist  to  be  treated  with 
.every  care  and  honor,  and  then  retired  to  his  tent,  his  mind  filled  with 
thoughts  of  this  conflict.  Djaida  remained  for  three  days  at  her  cousin's 
dwelling  place.  Every  morning  she  presented  herself  on  the  field  of 
combat  and  remained  under  arms  until  the  fall  of  night.  She  enjoyed  it 
greatly,  still  keeping  her  identity  concealed,  whilst  Khaled,  on  the  other 
.Hand,  made.no  inquiries,  and  asked  no  questions  of  her,  as  to  who  she  was 
and  to  what  clan  she  might  belong. 

'  On  the  morning  of  the  fourth  day,  while  Khaled,  according  to  his 
custom,  rode  out  over  the  plain,  and  passed  close  to  the  tents  reserved 
for  strangers,  he  caught  sight  of  Djaida  mounting  her  horse.  He. saluted 
her,  and  she  returned  his  salute.  "Noble  Arab,"  said  Khaled,  "I  would 
ask  you  one  question.  Until  this  moment  I  have  failed  in  courtesy  towards 
you,  but  I  now»4)eg  of  you,  in  the  name  of  that  God  who  has  given  you 
such  great  dexterity  in  arms,  tell  me  who  you  are,  and  to  what  noble 
princes  are  you  allied?  For  I  have  never  met  your  equal  among  brave 
warriors  Answer  me,  I  beseech  you,  for  I  am  most  impatient  to  learn." 
-Djaida  smiled,  and  raising  her  visor,  made  answer:  "Khaled,  I  am  a 
.Womaii*  not  a  warrior.  I  am  your  own  cousin  Djaida,  who  offered  herself 
toryov,  and  desired  to  give  herself  to  you;  but  you  refused  her — from 
the  pride  you  felt  in  your  passion  for  arms."  As  she  spoke  die  turned 
^  her  horse  suddenly,  pressed  the  spurs  into  him,  and  galloped  off  at  full 
in  the  direction  of  her  own  country. 


ARABIA— AL-ASMA'I  97 

Khalcd,  covered  with  confusion,  withdrew  to  his  tent,  not  knowing 
what  to  do,  and  not  knowing  what  would  be  the  end  of  the  passionate 
love  which  he  suddenly  felt  surging  within  him.  He  was  seized  'with  a 
violent  disgust  for  all  his  warlike  habits  and  tastes,  which  had  reduced 
him  to  the  melancholy  plight  in  which  he  now  found  himself.  His 
distaste  for  women  was  suddenly  changed  into  love.  He  sent  for  his 
mother  and  recounted  to  her  all  that  had  occurred.  "My  son/*  said  she, 
"all  these  circumstances  ought  to  render  Djaida  still  dearer  to  you.  Wait 
patiently  a  little,  until  I  have  been  able  to  go  and  ask  her  hand  of  her 
mother."  She  thereupon  mounted  her  camel  at  once,  and  started  off 
through  the  desert  on  the  tracks  of  Djaida,  who  immediately  on  her 
arrival  home  had  told  her  mother  everything  that  had  happened.  As  soon 
as  Khaled's  mother  had  arrived,  she  threw  herself  into  the  arms  of  her 
relative  and  demanded  Djaida  in  marriage  for  her  son,  for  Zahir  had 
not  yet  returned  from  his  expedition.  When  Djaida  heard  from  her 
mother  the  request  of  Khaled,  she  said,  "This  shall  never  be,  even  though 
I  be  forced  to  drink  the  cup  of  death.  What  occurred  at  his  tents  was 
brought  about  by  me  to  quench  the  fire  of  my  grief  and  unhappiness,  and 
soothe  the  anguish  of  my  soul." 

On  hearing  these  words  Khaled's  mother,  disappointed,  went  back  to 
her  son,  who  was  tortured  by  the  crudest  anxiety.  He  rose  suddenly  to 
his  feet,  for  his  love  had  reached  the  point  of  despair,  and  asked  uneasily 
what  were!*  the  feelings  of  his  cousin.  When  he  learned  the  answer  of 
Djaida  his  distress  became  overwhelming,  for  her  refusal  served  only  to 
increase  his  passion.  "What  can  be  done,  my  mother,"  he  exclaimed.  "I 
see  no  way  of  escaping  from  this  predicament,"  she  replied,  "excepting 
that  you  assemble  all  your  horsemen  from  among  the  Arabian  sheiks, 
and  among  those  with  whom  you  are  on  friendly  terms.  Wait  until  your 
uncle  returns  from  the  campaign,  and  then,  surrounded  by  all  your 
followers,  go  to  him,  and  in  the  presence  of  the  assembled  warriors, 
demand  of  him  the  hand  of  his  daughter  in  marriage.  If  he  denies  that 
he  has  a  daughter,  tell  him  everything  that  has  happened,  and  urge  him 
until  he  gives  in  to  your  demand."  This  advice,  and  the  plan  that  was 
proposed  moderated  the  grief  of  Khaled.  The  moment  he  learned  that 
his  uncle  had  returned  home,  he  assembled  chiefs  of  his  family  and  told 
his  story  to  them.  They  were  all  much  astonished,  and  Madi  Kereb,  one 
of  Khaled's  bravest  companions,  could  not  help  saying:  "This  is  a  strange 
thing;  we  have  always  heard i it  said  that  your  uncle  had  a  son  named 
Djonder,  but  now  the  truth  is  known.  You  are  indeed  the  man  who  has 
the  best  right  to  the  daughter  of  your  uncle.  It  is  therefore  our  best 
course  to  present  ourselves  in  a  body  and  prostrate  ourselves  before  him, 
requesting  him  to  return  to  his  family  and  not  give  his  daughter  to  s$ny^ 
Stranger."  Khaled,  without  waiting  to  hear  more,  took  with  him  a  hundred 
of  his  bravest  horsemen,  those  who  had  been  brought  up  with  Moharib 


98  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

and  Zahir  from  their  earliest  childhood,  and,  having  provided  themselves 
with  presents  even  more  costly  than  those  they  had  taken  before,  they 
started  off  on  their  journey,  and  marched  until  they  came  to  the  clan  of 
Saad.  Khaled  began  by  complimenting  his  uncle  on  his  fortunate  retifrn 
from  war,  but  no  one  could  be  more  astounded  than  Zahir  at  this  second 
visit,  particularly  when  he  saw  his  nephew  with  all  the  chieftains  of  his 
family.  It  never  occurred  to  him  that  his  daughter  Djaida  had  anything 
to  do  with  Khaled's  return;  he  thought  that  his  nephew  simply  wished 
to  persuade  him  to  return  to  his  native  land.  He  offered  them  every  hos- 
pitality, provided  them  with  tents  and  entertained  them  in  great  mag- 
nificence. He  ordered  camels  and  sheep  killed,  and  offered  a  banquet, 
furnishing  his  guests  with  all  things  needful  and  proper  for  a  period  of 
three  days.  On  the  fourth  day  Khaled  arose,  and  after  thanking  his  uncle 
for  all  his  courtesy,  asked  him  for  his  daughter's  hand,  and  begged  him 
to  return  to  his  own  land.  Zahir  denied  that  he  had  any  child  except  his 
son  Djonder,  but  Khaled  told  him  all  that  he  had  learned,  and  all  that 
had  passed  between  himself  and  Djaida.  On  hearing  these  words  Zahir 
was  overcome  with  shame  and  cast  his  eyes  to  the  ground.  He  regained 
for  some  time  plunged  in  thought,  and  after  reflecting  that  the  affair 
must  needs  proceed  from  bad  to  worse,  he  addressed  those  present  in 
the  following  words:  "Kinsmen,  I  can  no  longer  delay  acknowledging 
this  secret;  therefore,  she  shall  be.  married  to  her  cousin  as  soon  as  pos- 
sible, for  of  all  the  men  I  know,  he  is  most  worthy  of  her.wftie  offered 
his  hand  to  Khaled,  who  at  once  clasped  it  in  presence  of  the  chiefs  who 
were  witnesses  to  the  contract.  The  dowry  was  agreed  upon  at  five 
hundred  brown  black-eyed  camels,  and  a  thousand  camels  loaded  with  the 
choicest  products  of  Yemen.  The  clan  of  Saad,  among  which  Zahir  had 
lived,  were  excluded  from  all  part  in  this  matter. 

When  Zahir  had  asked  his  daughter's  consent  to  this  arrangement, 
Djaida  was  overwhelmed  with  confusion  at  the  course  her  father  had 
taken.  Since  he  let  the  girl  clearly  understand  that  he  did  not  wish  her 
to  remain  unmarried,  she  at  last  replied:  "Father,  if  my  cousin  desires  to 
have  me  in  marriage,  I  shall  not  enter  into  his  tent  until  he  undertakes 
to  slaughter  at  my  wedding  a  thousand  camels,  among  those  which 
belong  to  Gheshem,  son  of  Malik,  'The  Brandisher  of  Spears.'  Khaled 
agreed  to  this;  but  the  sheiks  and  warriors  did  not  leave  Zahir  before 
he  had  collected  his  possessions  for  transportation  to  his  own  land.  No 
sooner  were  these  preparations  finished  than  Khaled  marched  forth  at 
the  head  of  a  thousand  horsemen,  with  whose  assistance  he  conquered 
the  clan  of  Aamir.  Having  thrice  wounded  "The  Brandisher  of  Spears," 
and  slain  a  great  number  of  his  champions,  he  carried  oft  their  goods 
and  brought  back  from  their  country  a  richer  spoil  even  than  Djaida  had 
demanded.  Loaded  with  booty  he  returned,  and  was  intoxicated  with 
his  success.  But  when  he  asked  that  a  day  should  be  fixed  for  the  wed* 


ARABIA— AL-ASMA'I  99 

ding,  Djaida  begged  him  to  approach,  and  spoke  these  words  to  him: 
"If  you  desire  me  to  become  your  wife,  fulfil  first  of  all  my  wishes, 
and  keep  the  engagement  I  make  with  you.  This  is  my  demand:  that 
on»  the  day  of  my  marriage,  some  nobleman's  daughter,  a  free-born 
woman,  hold  the  bridle  of  my  camel;  she  must  be  the  daughter  of  a 
prince  of  the  highest  rank,  in  order  that  I  may  be  most  honored  of  all  the 
daughters  of  Arabia/'  Khaled  consented,  and  set  about  to  carry  out  her 
wishes.  That  same  day  he  started  with  his  horsemen,  and  crossed  plains 
and  valleys,  searching  the  land  of  Ymer,  until  he  reached  the  country  of 
Hijar  and  the  hills  of  Sand.  In  that  place  he  attacked  the  tribe-family 
of  Moawich,  son  of  Mizal.  He  fell  upon  them  like  a  tempest,  and 
cutting  a  way  with  his  sword  through  the  opposing  horsemen,  took  pris- 
oner Amima,  daughter  of  Moawich,  at  the  very  moment  when  she  was 
betaking  herself  to  flight. 

Having  accomplished  feats  which  rendered  useless  the  resistance  of  the 
skilful  heroes,  after  having  scattered  all  the  clans  in  flight,  and  carried 
off  all  the  wealth  of  all  the  Arabs  in  that  country,  he  returned  home. 
But  he  did  not  wish  to  approach  his  tents  until  he  had  gathered  in  all 
the  wealth  he  had  left  at  various  points  and  places  in  the  desert. 

The  young  girls  marched  before  him  sounding  their  cymbals  and 
other  musical  instruments.  All  the  clan  rejoiced;  and  when  Khaled  ap- 
peared, he  distributed  clothing  to  widows  and  orphans,  and  invited  his 
companion^  and  friends  to  the  banquet  he  was  preparing  for  his  wedding. 
All  the  Arabs  of  the  country  came  in  a  vast  assemblage  to  the  marriage. 
He  caused  them  to  be  regaled  with  abundance  of  flesh  and  wine.  But 
while  all  the  guests  gave  themselves  up  to  feasting  and  pleasure,  Khaled, 
accompanied  by  ten  slaves,  prepared  to  scour  the  wild  and  marshy  places 
of  the  country,  in  order  to  attack  in  their  lairs  the  lions  and  lionesses 
and  their  cubs,  and  carry  them  to  the  tents,  in  order  to  provide  meat  for 
all  those  who  attended  the  festival. 

But  Djaida  had  been  informed  beforehand  of  this  plan.  She  disguised 
herself  in  a  coat  of  mail,  mounted  her  horse,  and  left  the  tents;  since 
three  days  of  festivities  still  remained,  she  quickly  followed  Khaled  into 
the  desert,  and  met  him  face  to  face  in  a  cavern.  She  flung  herself  upon 
him  with  the  impetuosity  of  a  wild  animal,  and  attacked  him  furiously, 
crying  aloud,  "Arab!  dismount  from  your  horse,  take  off  your  coat  of 
mail  and  your  armor;  if  you  hesitate,  I  will  run  this  lance  through  your 
heart."  Khaled  was  determined  at  once  to  resist  her  in  this  demand. 
They  engaged  in  a  furious  combat.  The  struggle  lasted  for  well  over 
an  hour,  when  the  warrior  saw  in  the  eyes  of  his  adversary  an  expression 
which  frightened  him.  He  mounted  his  horse  again,  and  having  wheeled 
round  his  steed  from  the  place  of  combat,  exclaimed:  "By  the  faith  of 
an  Arab,  I  beg  of  you  to  tell  me  what  horseman  of  the  desert  you  are; 
for  I  feel  that  your  attack  and  the  violence  of  your  blows  are  irresistible. 


102  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

him,  Alrashid  and  certain  of  his  domestics  passed  by  in  disguise;  for  the 
caliph  had  experienced  a  contraction  of  the  bosom  and  had  come  forth  to 
amuse  himself  among  the  people.  So  Abou  Hassan  laid  hold  upon  him, 
and  said  to  him,  O  my  master,  hast  thou  any  desire  for  a  repast  and 
beverage?  And  Alrashid  complied  with  his  request,  saying  to  him,  Con- 
duct us.  And  Abou  Hassan  knew  not  who  was  his  guest.  The  calipK 
proceeded  with  him  until  they  arrived  at  Abou  Hassan's  house:  and  when 
Alrashid  entered,  he  found  in  it  a  saloon,  such  that  if  thou  beheldest  it, 
and  lookedst  towards  its  walls,  thou  wouldst  behold  wonders;  and  if 
thou  observedst  its  conduits  of  water,  thou  wouldst  see  a  fountain  incased 
with  gold.  And  after  he  had  seated  himself  there,  Abou  Hassan  called 
for  a  slave  girl,  like  the  twig  of  the  Oriental  willow,  who  took  a  lute 
and  sang.  And  when  Alrashid  heard  her,  he  said,  Thou  hast  performed 
well.  God  bless  thee!  Her  eloquence  pleased  him,  and  he  wondered  at 
Abou  Hassan  and  his  entertainment. 

He  then  said  to  Abou  Hassan,  O  young  man,  who  art  thou?  Acquaint 
me  with  thy  history,  that  I  may  requite  thee  for  thy  kindness.  But  Abou 
Hassan  smiled,  and  replied,  O  my  master,  far  be  it  from  me  that  what 
hath  happened  should  recur,  and  that  I  should  be  in  thy  company  *again 
after  this  time!  And  why  so?  said  the  caliph;  and  why  wilt  thou  not 
acquaint  me  with  thy  case?  So  Abou  Hassan  told  his  story,  and  when  the 
caliph  heard  it,  he  laughed  violently,  and  said,  By  Allah,  O  my  brother, 
thou  art  excusable  in  this  matter.  Then  a  dish  of  roast  goose  Was  placed 
before  him,  and  a  cake  of  fine  bread;  and  Abou  Hassan  sat,  and  cut  off 
the  meat,  and  put  morsels  into  the  mouth  of  the  caliph,  and  they  con- 
tinued eating  until  they  were  satisfied;  when  the  basin  and  ewer  were 
brought,  with  the  kali;  and  they  washed  their  hands.  After  this  Abou 
Hassan  lighted  for  his  guests  three  candles  and  three  lamps,  spread  the 
wine  cloth,  and  brought  clear,  strained,  old,  perfumed  wine,  the  odor 
of  which  was  like  fragrant  musk,  and,  having  filled  the  first  cup,  said, 
O  my  boon-companion,  bashf ulness  is  dismissed  from  us,  with  thy  per- 
mission. Thy  slave  is  by  thee.  May  I  never  be  afflicted  by  the  loss  of 
thee!  And  he  drank  the  cup,  and  filled  the  second,  which  he  handed  to 
the  caliph,  waiting  upon  him  as  a  servant.  And  the  caliph  was  pleased 
with  his  actions,  and  the  politeness  of  his  words,  and  said  within  himself, 
By  Allah,  I  will  certainly  requite  him  for  this!  Abou  Hassan  then,  after 
he  had  kissed  the  cup,  handed  it  to  the  caliph,  who  accepted  it  from  his 
hand,  kissed  it  and  drank  it,  and  handed  it  back  to  him.  Abou  Hassan 
still  continued  serving  him,  saying,  Drink,  and  may  it  be  attended  with 
health  and  vigor.  And  they  drank  and  caroused  until  midnight. 

After  this  the  caliph  said  to  his  host,  O  Abou  Hassan,  is  there  any 
service  that  thou  wouldst  have  performed,  or  any  desire  that  thou  wouldst 
have  accomplished?  And  Abou  Hassan  answered,  In  our  neighborhood 
is  a  mosque  to  which  belong  an  imam  and  four  sheiks,  and  whenever 


ARABIA— ANONYMOUS  103 

they  hear  music  or  any  sport,  they  incite  the  judge  against  me,  and  im- 
pose fines  upon  me,  and  trouble  my  life,  so  that  I  suffer  torment  from 
them.  If  I  had  them  in  my  power,  therefore,  I  would  give  each  6f  them 
a*  thousand  lashes,  that  I  might  be  relieved  from  their  excessive  annoy- 
ance. 

Alrashid  replied,  May  Allah  grant  thee  the  accomplishment  of  thy 
wish!  And  without  his  being  aware  of  it,  he  put  into  a  cup  a  lozenge 
of  bhang,  and  handed  it  to  him;  and  as  soon  as  it  had  settled  in  his 
stomach,  he  fell  asleep  immediately.  Alrashid  then  arose  and  went  to  the 
door,  where  he  found  his  young  men  waiting  for  him,  and  he  ordered 
them  to  convey  Abou  Hassan  upon  a  mule,  and  returned  to  the  palace, 
Abou  Hassan  being  intoxicated  and  insensible.  And  when  the  caliph  had 
rested  himself  in  the  palace,  he  called  for  his  vizier  Giafar,  and  Ab- 
dallah  the  son  of  Tahir,  the  Judge  of  Bagdad,  and  certain  of  his  chief 
attendants,  and  said  to  them  all,  In  the  morning  when  ye  see  this  young 
man  (pointing  to  Abou  Hassan)  seated  on  the  royal  couch,  pay  obedi- 
ence to  him,  and  salute  him  as  caliph,  and  whatsoever  he  commanded! 
you,  ^lo  it.  Then  going  to  his  female  slaves,  he  directed  them  to  wait 
upon  Abou  Hassan,  and  to  address  him  as  Prince  of  the  Faithful:  after 
which  he  entered  a  private  closet,  and,  having  let  down  a  curtain  over 
the  entrance,  slept. 

So  when  Abou  Hassan  awoke,  he  found  himself  upon  the  royal  couch, 
with  the  attendants  standing  around,  and  kissing  the  ground  before  him; 
and  a  maid  said  to  him,  O  our  lord,  it  is  the  time  for  morning  prayer. 
Upon  which  he  laughed,  and,  looking  round  about  him,  he  beheld  a 
pavilion  whose  walls  were  adorned  with  gold  and  ultramarine,  and  the 
roof  bespotted  with  red  gold,  surrounded  by  chambers  with  curtains  of 
embroidered  silk  hanging  before  their  doors;  and  he  saw  vessels  of  gold, 
and  chinaware,  and  crystal,  and  furniture,  and  carpets  spread,  and  lighted 
lamps,  and  female  slaves,  and  eunuchs,  and  other  attendants;  whereat 
he  was  perplexed  in  his  mind,  and  said,  By  Allah,  either  I  am  dream- 
ing, or  this  is  Paradise,  and  the  Abode  of  Peace.  And  he  closed  his  eyes. 
So  a  eunuch  said  to  him,  O  my  lord,  this  is  not  thy  usual  custom,  O 
Prince  of  the  Faithful.  And  he  was  perplexed  at  his  case,  and  put  his 
head  into  his  bosom,  and  then  began  to  open  his  eyes  by  little  and  little, 
laughing,  and  saying,  What  is  this  state  in  which  I  find  myself?  And  he 
bit  his  finger;  and  when  he  found  that  the  bite  pained  him,  he  cried, 
Ah!  and  was  angry.  Then  raising  his  head,  he  called  one  of  the  female 
slaves,  who  answered  him,  At  thy  service,  O  Prince  of  the  Faithful! 
And  he  said  to  her,  What  is  thy  name?  She  answered,  Cluster  of  Pearls. 
And  he  said,  Knowest  thou  in  what  place  I  am,  and  who  I  am?  Thou 
art  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful,  she  answered,  sitting  in  thy  palace,  upon 
the  royal  couch.  He  replied,  I  am  perplexed  at  my  case;  my  reason  hath 
departed,  and  it  seemeth  that  I  am  asleep:  but  what  shall  I  say  of  my 


104  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

yesterday's  guest?  I  imagine  nothing  but  that  he  is  a  devil,  or  an  en- 
chanter, who  hath  sported  with  my  reason. 

All  this  time  the  caliph  was  observing  him  from  a  place  where  Abou 
Hassan  could  not  see  him.  And  Abou  Hassan  looked  toward  the  chief 
eunuch,  and  called  to  him.  So  he  came,  and  kissed  the  ground  before 
him,  saying  to  him,  Yes,  O  Prince  of  the  Faithful.  And  Abou  Hassan 
said  to  him,  Who  is  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful?  Thou,  he  answered. 
Abou  Hassan  replied,  Thou  liest.  And  addressing  another  eunuch,  he  said 
to  him,  O  my  chief,  as  thou  hopest  for  Allah's  protection,  tell  me,  am 
I  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful?  Yea,  by  Allah,  answered  the  eunuch;  thou 
art  at  this  present  time  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful,  and  the  caliph  of  the 
Lord  of  all  creatures.  And  Abou  Hassan,  perplexed  at  all  that  he  beheld, 
said,  In  one  night  do  I  become  Prince  of  the  Faithful!  Was  I  not  yes- 
terday Abou  Hassan;  and  to-day  am  I  Prince  of  the  Faithful?  He  re- 
mained perplexed  and  confounded  until  the  morning,  when  a  eunuch 
advanced  to  him,  and  said  to  him,  May  Allah  grant  a  happy  morning 
to  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful!  And  he  handed  to  him  a  pair  of  shoes 
of  gold  stuff,  reticulated  with  precious  stones  and  rubies;  and  f  Abou 
Hassan  took  them,  and  after  examining  them  a  long  time,  put  them 
into  his  sleeve.  So  the  eunuch  said  to  him,  These  are  shoes  to  walk  in. 
And  Abou  Hassan  replied,  Thou  hast  spoken  truth.  I  put  them  not  into 
my  sleeve  but  in  my  fear  lest  they  should  be  soiled.  He  therefore  took 
them  forth,  and  put  them  on  his  feet.  And  shortly  after,  trie  female 
slaves  brought  him  a  basin  of  gold  and  a  ewer  of  silver,  and  poured 
the  water  upon  his  hands;  and  when  he  had  performed  the  ablution, 
they  spread  for  him  a  prayer  carpet;  and  he  prayed;  but  knew  not  how 
to  do  so.  He  continued  his  inclinations  and  prostrations  until  he  had  per- 
formed twenty  rekahs;  meditating  and  saying  within  himself,  By  Allah, 
I  am  none  other  than  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful,  in  truth;  or  else  this 
is  a  dream,  and  all  these  things  occur  not  in  a  dream.  He  therefore  con- 
vinced himself,  and  determined  in  his  mind  that  he  was  the  Prince  of 
the  Faithful;  and  he  pronounced  the  salutations,  and  finished  his  prayers. 
They  then  brought  him  a  magnificent  dress,  and,  looking  at  himself  as 
he  sat  upon  the  couch,  he  retracted,  and  said,  All  this  is  an  illusion,  and 
a  machination  of  .the  Genii. 

And  while  he  was  in  this  state,  lo,  one  of  the  mamlouks  came  in  and 
said  to  him,  O  Prince  of  the  Faithful,  the  chamberlain  is  at  the  door, 
requesting  permission  to  enter.  Let  him  enter,  replied  Abou  Hassan.  So 
he  came  in,  and,  having  kissed  the  ground  before  him,  said,  Peace  be 
on  thee,  O  Prince  of  the  Faithful !  And  Abou  Hassan  rose,  and  descended 
from  the  couch  to  the  floor;  whereupon  the  chamberlain  exclaimed, 
Allah!  Allah!  O  Prince  of  the  Faithful!  Knowest  thou  not  that  all 
men  are  thy  servants,  and  under  thy  authority,  and  that  it  is  not  proper 
for  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful  to  rise  to  anyone?  Abou  Hassan  was  then 


ARABIA— ANONYMOUS 


105 


told  that  Giafar  the  Barmecide,  and  Abdallah  the  son  of  Tahir,  and 
the  chiefs  of  the  mamlouks,  begged  permission  to  enter.  And  he  gave 
them  permission.  So  they  entered,  and  kissed  the  ground  before  him, 
each  of  them  addressing  him  as  Prince  of  the  Faithful.  And  he  was 
delighted  at  this,  and  returned  their  salutation;  after  which  he  called 
the  judge,  who  approached  him,  and  said,  At  thy  service,  O  Prince  of 
the  Faithful!  And  Abou  Hassan  said  to  him,  Repair  immediately  to 
such  a  street,  and  give  a  hundred  pieces  of  gold  to  the  mother  of  Abou 
Hassan  the  Wag,  with  my  salutation;  then  take  the  imam  of  the  mosque, 
and  the  four  sheiks,  inflict  upon  each  of  them  a  thousand  lashes;  and 
when  thou  hast  done  that,  write  a  bond  against  them,  confirmed  by 
oath,  that  they  shall  not  reside  in  the  street,  after  thou  shalt  have  pa- 
raded them  through  the  city,  mounted  on  beasts,  with  their  faces  to  the 
tails,  and  hast  proclaimed  before  them,  This  is  the  recompense  of  those 
who  annoy  their  neighbors.  And  beware  of  neglecting  that  which  I 
have  commanded  thee  to  do.  So  the  judge  did  as  he  was  ordered.  And 
when  Abou,  Hassan  had  exercised  his  authority  until  the  close  of  the 
day,%e  looked  toward  the  chamberlain  and  the  rest  of  the  attendants, 
and  said  to  them,  Depart. 

He  then  called  for  a  eunuch  who  was  near  at  hand,  and  said  tcf  him, 
I  am  hungry,  and  desire  something  to  eat.  And  he  replied,  I  hear  and 
obey;  an 4  led  him  by  the  hand  into  the  eating  chamber,  where  the  at- 
tendants placed  before  him  a  table  of  rich  viands;  and  ten  slave  girls, 
high-bosomed  virgins,  stood  behind  his  head.  Abou  Hassan,  looking  at 
one  of  these,  said  to  her,  What  is  thy  name?  She  answered,  Branch  of 
Willow.  And  he  said  to  her,  O  Branch  of  Willow,  who  am  I?  Thou 
art  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful,  she  answered.  But  he  replied,  Thou  liest, 
by  Allah,  thou  slut!  Ye  girls  are  laughing  at  me.  So  she  said,  Fear  Allah, 
O  Prince  of  the  Faithful;  this  is  thy  palace,  and  the  female  slaves  are 
thine.  And  upon  this  he  said  within  himself,  It  is  no  great  matter  to  be 
effected  by  God,  to  whom  be  ascribed  might  and  glory!  Then  the  slave 
girls  led  him  by  the  hand  to  the  drinking  chamber,  where  he  saw  what 
astonished  the  mind;  and  he  continued  to  say  within  himself,  No  doubt 
these  are  of  the  Genii,  and  this  person  who  was  my  guest  is  one  of  the 
kings  of  the  Genii,  who  saw  no  way  of  requiting  and  compensating  me 
for  my  kindness  to  him  but  by  ordering  his  slaves  to  address  me  as 
Prince  of  the  Faithful.  All  these  are  of  the  Genii.  May  Allah  then  de- 
liver me  from  them  happily!  And  while  he  was  thus  talking  to  himself, 
lo,  one  of  the  slave  girls  filled  for  him  a  cup  of  wine;  and  he  took  it 
from  her  hand  and  drank  it;  after  which,  the  slave  girls  plied  him  with 
wine  in  abundance;  and  one  of  them  threw  into  his  cup  a  lozenge  of 
bhang;  and  when  it  had  settled  in  his  stomach,  he  fell  down  senseless. 

Alrashid  then  gave  orders  to  convey  him  to  his  house;  and  the  servants 
did  so,  and  laid  him  on  his  bed,  still  in  a  state  of  insensibility.  So  when 


xo6  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

he  recovered  from  his  intoxication,  in  the  latter  part  of  the  night,  he 
found  himself  in  the  dark;  and  he  called  out,  Branch  of  Willow! 
Cluster  of  Pearls!  But  no  one  answered  him.  His  mother,  however, 
heard  him  shouting  these  names,  and  arose  and  came,  and  said  to  him, 
What  hath  happened  to  thee,  O  my  son,  and  what  hath  befallen  thee? 
Art  thou  mad?  And  when  he  heard  the  words  of  his  mother,  he  said  to 
her,  Who  art  thou,  O  ill-omened  old  woman,  that  thou  addressest  the 
Prince  of  the  Faithful  with  these  expressions?  She  answered,  I  am  thy 
mother,  O  my  son.  But  he  replied,  Thou  liest:  I  am  the  Prince  of  the 
Faithful,  the  lord  of  the  countries  and  the  people.  Be  silent,  she  said,  or 
else  thy  life  will  be  lost.  And  she  began  to  pronounce  spells,  and  to 
recite  charms  over  him,  and  said  to  him,  It  seemeth,  O  my  son,  that  thou 
hast  seen  this  in  a  dream,  and  all  this  is  one  of  the  ideas  suggested  by 
the  devil.  She  said  to  him,  I  give  thee  good  news,  at  which  thou  wilt  be 
rejoiced.  And  what  is  it?  said  he.  She  answered,  The  caliph  gave  orders 
yesterday  to  beat  the  imam  and  the  four  sheiks,  and  caused  a  bond  to  be 
written  against  them,  confirmed  by  oath,  that  they  shall  not  transgress 
henceforth  against  anyone  by  their  impertinent  meddling;  and  hei  sent 
me  a  hundred  pieces  of  gold,  with  his  salutation.  And  when  Abou  Hassan 
heard-  these  words  from  his  mother,  he  uttered  a  loud  cry,  with  which 
his  soul  almost  quitted  the  world;  and  he  exclaimed,  I  am  he  who  gave 
orders  to  beat  the  sheiks,  and  who  sent  thee  the  hundred  piece^  of  gold, 
with  my  salutation,  and  I  am  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful. 

Having  said  this,  he  rose  up  against  his  mother,  and  beat  her  with  an 
almond  stick,  until  she  cried  out,  O  ye  faithful.  And  he  beat  her  with 
increased  violence,  until  the  neighbors  heard  her  cries  and  came  to  her 
relief.  He  was  still  beating  her,  and  saying  to  her,  O  ill-omened  old 
woman,  am  I  not  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful?  Thou  hast  enchanted  me! 
And  when  the  people  heard  his  words,  they  said,  This  man  hath  become 
mad.  And  not  doubting  his  insanity,  they  came  in  and  laid  hold  upon 
him,  bound  his  hands  behind  him,  and  conveyed  him  to  the  madhouse. 
There  every  day  they  punished  him,  dosing  him  with  abominable  medi- 
cines, and  flogging  him  with  whips,  making  him  a  madman  in  spite  of 
himself.  Thus  he  continued,  stripped  of  his  clothing,  and  chained  by  the 
neck  to  a  high  window,  for  the  space  of  ten  days;  after  which  his 
mother  came  to  salute  him.  And  he  complained  to  her  of  his  case.  So 
she  said  to  him,  O  my  son,  fear  God  in  thy  conduct:  if  thou  wert  Prince 
of  the  Faithful,  thou  wouldst  not  be  in  this  predicament.  And  when  he 
heard  what  his  mother  said,  he  replied,  By  Allah,  thou  hast  spoken  truth. 
It  seemeth  that  I  was  only  asleep,  and  dreamed  that  they  made  me  caliph, 
and  assigned  me  servants  and  female  slaves.  So  his  mother  said  to  him, 
O  my  son,  verily  Satan  doeth  more  than  this.  And  he  replied,  Thou  hast 
spoken  truth,  and  I  beg  forgiveness  of  God  for  the  actions  committed 
by  me. 


ARABIA— ANONYMOUS  107 

They  therefore  took  him  forth  from  the  madhouse,  and  conducted 
him  into  the  bath;  and  when  he  recovered  his  health,  he  prepared  food 
and  drink,  and  began  to  eat.  But  eating  by  himself  was  not  pleasant 
to  him;  and  he  said  to  his  mother,  O  my  mother,  neither  life  nor 
eating  by  myself  is  pleasant  to  me.  She  replied,  If  thou  desire  to  do 
according  to  thy  will,  thy  return  to  the  madhouse  is  most  probable. 
Paying  no  attention,  however,  to  her  advice,  he  walked  to  the  bridge 
to  seek  for  himself  a  cup-companion.  And  while  he  was  sitting  there, 
lo,  Alrashid  came  to  him  in  the  garb  of  a  merchant;  for,  from  the 
time  of  his  parting  with  him  he  came  every  day  to  the  bridge,  but 
found  him  not  till  now.  As  soon  as  Abou  Hassan  saw  him,  he  said  to 
him,  A  friendly  welcome  to  thee,  O  King  of  the  Genii!  So  Alrashid 
said,  What  have  I  done  to  thee?  What  more  couldst  thou  do,  said 
Abou  Hassan,  than  thou  hast  done  to  me,  O  filthiest  of  the  Genii? 
I  have  suffered  beating,  and  entered  the  madhouse,  and  they  pronounced 
toe  a  madman.  All  this  was  occasioned  by  thee.  I  brought  thee  to  my 
abode,  and  fed  thee  with  the  best  of  my  food;  and  after  that  thou  gavest 
thy  4evils  and  thy  slaves  entire  power  over  me,  to  make  sport  with  my 
reason  from  morning  to  evening.  Depart  from  me,  therefore,  and  go 
thy  way. 

The  caliph  smiled  at  this,  and,  seating  himself  by  his  side,  addressed 
him  in  courteous  language,  and  said  to  him,  O  my  brother,  when  I  went 
forth  from  thee,  I  inadvertently  left  the  door  open,  and  probably  the 
devil  went  in  to  thee.  Abou  Hassan  replied,  Inquire  not  respecting  that 
which  happened  to  me.  And  what  possessed  thee,  he  added,  that  thou 
leftest  the  door  open,  so  that  the  devil  came  in  to  me,  and  that  such  and 
such  things  befell  me?  And  he  related  to  the  caliph  all  that  had  hap- 
pened to  him  from  first  to  last,  while  Alrashid  laughed,  but  concealed 
his  laughter:  after  which  the  caliph  said  to  him,  Praise  be  to  God  that 
He  hath  dispelled  from  thee  that  which  thou  hatest,  and  that  I  have  seen 
thee  again  in  prosperity! 

But  Abou  Hassan  replied,  I  will  not  take  thee  again  as  my  boon- 
companion,  nor  as  an  associate  to  sit  with  me;  for  the  proverb  saith,  He 
who  stumbleth  against  a  stone  and  returneth  to  it,  is  to  be  blamed  and 
reproached:  and  with  thee,  O  my  brother,  I  will  not  carouse,  nor  will 
I  keep  company  with  thee:  since  I  have  not  found  thy  visit  to  be  fol- 
lowed by  good  fortune  to  me.  The  caliph,  however,  said,  I  have  been 
the  means  of  the  accomplishment  of  thy  desire  with  regard  to  the  imam 
and  the  sheiks.  Yes,  replied  Abou  Hassan.  And  Alrashid  added,  Per- 
haps something  will  happen  to  thee  that  will  rejoice  thy  heart  more  than 
that.  Then  what  dost  thou  desire  of  me?  said  Abou  Hassan.  My  desire, 
answered  Alrashid,  is  to  be  thy  guest  this  night.  And  at  length  Abou 
Hassan  said,  On  the  condition  that  thou  swear  to  me  by  the  inscription 
on  the  seal  of  Solomon  the  son  of  David  (on  both  of  whom  be  peace!) 


io8  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

that  thou  wilt  not  suffer  thy  Afrites  to  make  sport  with  me.  And 
Alrashid  replied,  I  hear  and  obey. 

So  Abou  Hassan  took  him  to  his  abode,  and  put  the  food  before  him 
and  his  attendants,  and  they  ate  as  much  as  satisfied  them;  and  when 
they  had  finished  eating,  the  servants  placed  before  them  the  wine  and 
exhilarating  beverages,  and  they  continued  drinking  and  carousing  until 
the  wine  rose  into  their  heads.  Abou  Hassan  then  said  to  the  caliph,  O 
my  boon-companion,  in  truth  I  am  perplexed  respecting  my  case.  It 
seemeth  that  I  was  Prince  of  the  Faithful,  and  that  I  exercised  authority, 
and  gave  and  bestowed:  and  truly,  O  my  brother,  it  was  not  a  vision  of 
sleep.  But  the  caliph  replied,  This  was  the  result  of  confused  dreams. 
And  having  said  this,  he  put  a  piece  of  bhang  into  the  cup,  and  said,  By 
my  life,  drink  this  cup.  Verily  I  will  drink  it  from  thy  hand,  replied 
Abou  Hassan.  So  he  took  the  cup,  and  when  he  had  drank  it  his  head 
fell  before  his  feet.  The  caliph  then  arose  immediately,  and  ordered 
his  young  men  to  convey  Abou  Hassan  to  the  palace,  and  to  lay  him 
upon  his  couch,  and  commanded  the  female  slaves  to  stand  around  him; 
after  which  he  concealed  himself  in  a  place  where  Abou  Hassan  t:ould 
not  see  him,  and  ordered  a  slave  girl  to  take  her  lute  and  strike  its  chords 
over  Abou  Hassan's  head,  and  desired  the  other  slave  girls  to  play  upon 
their  instruments. 

It  was  then  the  close  of  the  night,  and  Abou  Hassan,  awaking,  and 
hearing  the  sounds  of  the  lutes,  and  tambourines,  and  flutes,  and  the 
singing  of  the  slave  girls,  cried  out,  O  my  mother!  Whereupon  the 
slave  girls  answered,  At  thy  service,  O  Prince  of  the  Faithful!  And 
when  he  heard  this,  he  exclaimed,  There  is  no  strength  nor  power  but 
in  God,  the  High,  the  Great!  Come  to  my  help  this  night;  for  this 
night  is  more  unlucky  than  the  former!  He  reflected  upon  all  that 
had  happened  to  him  with  his  mother,  and  how  he  had  beaten  her, 
and  how  he  had  been  taken  into  the  madhouse,  and  he  saw  the  marks 
of  the  beating  that  he  had  suffered  there.  Then  looking  at  the  scene 
that  surrounded  him,  he  said,  These  are  all  of  them  of  the  Genii,  in 
the  shapes  of  human  beings!  I  commit  my  affairs  unto  Allah!  And 
looking  toward  a  mamlouk  by  his  side,  he  said  to  him,  Bite  my  ear, 
that  I  may  know  if  I  be  asleep  or  awake.  The  mamlouk  said,  How  shall 
I  bite  thine  ear,  when  thou  art  the  Prince  of  the  Faithful?  But  Abou 
Hassan  answered,  Do  as  I  have  commanded  thee,  or  I  will  strike  off  thy 
head.  So  he  bit  it  until  his  teeth  met  together,  and  Abou  Hassan  uttered 
a  loud  shriek.  Alrashid  (who  was  behind  a  curtain  in  a  closet),  and  all 
who  were  present,  fell  down  with  laughter,  and  they  said  to  the  mam- 
louk, Art  thou  mad,  that  thou  bitest  the  ear  of  the  caliph?  And  Abou 
Hassan  said  to  them,  Is  it  not  enough,  O  ye  wretches  of  Genii,  that  hath 
befallen  me?  But  ye  are  not  in  fault:  the  fault  is  your  chief's,  who 
tt&nsformed  you  from  the  shapes  of  Genii  into  the  shapes  of  human 


ARABIA— ANONYMOUS  109 

beings.  I  implore  help  against  you  this  night  by  the  Verse  of  the  Throne, 
and  the  Chapter  of  Sincerity,  and  the  two  Preventives!  Upon  this 
Alrashid  exclaimed  from  behind  the  curtain,  Thou  hast  killed  us,  O 
Atiou  Hassan!  And  Abou  Hassan  recognized  him,  and  kissed  the  ground 
before  him,  greeting  him  with  a  prayer  for  the  increase  of  his  glory  and 
the  prolongation  of  his  life.  Alrashid  then  clad  him  in  a  rich  dress, 
gave  him  a  thousand  pieces  of  gold,  and  made  him  one  of  his  chief 
boon-companions.  *"  *~ 

Abou  Hassan,  after  this,  became  a  greater  favorite  with  the  caliph 
than  all  the  other  boon-companions,  so  that  he  sat  with  the  caliph  and 
his  wife  the  Lady  Zobeide,  the*  daughter  of  Kasim,  and  he  married  her 
female  treasurer,  whose  name  was  Nouzatalfuad.  With  this  wife  he 
resided,  eating,  and  drinking,  and  enjoying  a  delightful  life,  until  all 
the  money  that  they  possessed  had  gone;  whereupon  he  said  to  her,  O 
Nouzatalfuad!  And  she  answered,  At  thy  service.  I  desire,  said  he,  to 
practise  a  trick  upon  the  caliph,  and  thou  shah  practise  a  trick  upon  the 
Lady  Zobeide,  and  we  will  obtain  from  them  immediately  two  hundred 
piecesfcof  gold,  and  two  pieces  of  silk.  Do  what  thou  desirest,  replied  she: 
and  what,  she  asked,  is  it?  He  answered,  We  will  feign  ourselves  dead. 
I  will  die  before  thee,  and  lay  myself  out:  then  do  thou  spread  over 
me  a  napkin  of  silk,  and  unfold  my  turban  over  me,  and  tie  my  toes, 
and  put  ujjon  my  stomach  a  knife  and  a  little  salt:  after  which,  dishevel 
thy  hair,  and  go  to  thy  Lady  Zobeide,  and  tear  thy  vest,  and  slap  thy 
face,  and  shriek.  So  she  will  say  to  thee,  What  is  the  matter  with  thee? 
And  do  thou  answer  her,  May  thy  head  long  survive  Abou  Hassan  the 
Wag;  for  he  is  dead!  Whereupon  she  will  mourn  for  me,  and  weep, 
and  will  order  her  female  treasurer  to  give  thee  a  hundred  pieces  of 
gold,  and  a  piece  of  silk,  and  will  say  to  thee,  Go,  prepare  his  corpse  for 
burial,  and  convey  it  forth  to  the  grave.  So  thou  shalt  receive  from  her 
the  hundred  pieces  of  gold,  and  the  piece  of  silk,  and  come  hither.  And 
when  thou  comest  to  me,  I  will  rise,  and  thou  shalt  lay  thyself  down 
in  my  place,  and  I  will  go  to  the  caliph,  and  say  to  him,  May  thy  head 
long  survive  Nouzatalfuad!  And  I  will  tear  my  vest  and  pluck  my 
beard;  upon  which  he  will  mourn  for  thee,  and  will  say  to  his  treasurer, 
Give  to  Abou  Hassan  a  hundred  pieces  of  gold,  and  a  piece  of  silk:  and 
he  will  say  to  me,  Go,  prepare  her  corpse  for  burial,  and  convey  it  forth 
to  the  grave.  So  I  will  come  to  thee.  And  Nouzatalfuad  was  delighted 
with  this,  and  replied,  Truly  this  is  an  excellent  stratagem! 

She  forthwith  closed  his  eyes,  and  tied  his  feet,  covered  him  with  the 
napkin,  and  did  all  that  her  master  told  her;  after  which  she  tore  her 
vest,  uncovered  her  head,  and  disheveled  her  hair,  and  went  in  to  the 
Lady  Zobeide,  shrieking  and  weeping.  When  the  Lady  Zobeide,  there- 
fore, beheld  her  in  this  condition,  she  said  to  her,  What  is  this  state  in 
which  I  see  thee,  and  what  hath  happened  unto  thee,  and  what  hath 


no  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

caused  thee  to  weep?  And  Nouzatalfuad  wept  and  shrieked,  and  said, 
O  my  mistress,  may  thy  head  long  survive  Abou  Hassan  the  Wag;  for 
he  is  dead!  And  the  Lady  Zobeide  mourned  for  him,  and  said,  Poor 
Abou  Hassan  the  Wag!  Then,  after  weeping  for  him  a  while,  file 
ordered  the  female  treasurer  to  give  to  Nouzatalfuad  a  hundred  pieces 
of  gold  and  a  piece  of  silk,  and  said,  O  Nouzatalfuad,  go,  prepare  his 
body  for  burial,  and  convey  it  forth.  So  she  took  the  hundred  pieces  of 
gold  and  the  piece  of  silk,  and,  returning  to  her  abode  full  of  joy,  went 
in  to  Abou  Hassan,  and  acquainted  him  with  what  had  happened  to  her; 
upon  which  he  arose  and  rejoiced,  and  girded  his  waist  and  danced,  and 
took  the  hundred  pieces  of  gold,  with  the'piece  of  silk,  and  laid  them  up. 

He  then  extended  Nouzatalfuad,  and  did  with  her  as  she  had  done 
with  him;  after  which  he  tore  his  vest,  and  plucked  his  beard,  and  dis- 
ordered his  turban,  and  ran  without  stopping  until  he  went  in  to  the 
caliph,  who  was  in  his  hall  of  judgment;  and  in  the  condition  above 
described,  he  beat  his  bosom.  So  the  caliph  said  to  him,  What  hath  be- 
fallen thee,  O  Abou  Hassan?  and  he  wept,  and  said,  Would  that  thy 
boon-companion  had  never  been,  nor  his  hour  come  to  pass!  The  Caliph 
therefore  said  to  him,  Tell  me.  He  replied,  May  thy  head  long  survive, 
O  my  lord,  Nouzatalfuad!  And  the  caliph  exclaimed,  There  is  no  deity 
but  God!  and  struck  his  hands  together.  He  then  consoled  Abou  Hassan, 
and  said  to  him,  Mourn  not:  I  will  give  thee  a  slave  in  her  stead.  And 
he  ordered  his  treasurer  to  give  him  a  hundred  pieces  of  gold,  and  a 
piece  of  silk.  The  treasurer  therefore  did  as  he  was  commanded,  and 
the  caliph  said  to  Abou  Hassan,  Go,  prepare  her  corpse  for  burial,  and 
convey  it  forth,  and  make  a  handsome  funeral  for  her.  And  he  took 
what  the  caliph  gave  him,  and  went  to  his  abode  joyful,  and  going  in 
to  Nouzatalfuad,  said  to  her,  Arise;  for  our  desire  is  accomplished.  She 
therefore  arose,  and  he  put  before  her  the  hundred  pieces  of  gold  and 
the  piece  of  silk.  So  she  rejoiced;  and  they  put  these  pieces  of  gold  on 
the  other  pieces,  and  the  piece  of  silk  on  the  former  one,  and  sat  con- 
versing and  laughing  at  each  other. 

But  as  to  the  caliph,  when  Abou  Hassan  parted  from  him,  and  went 
with  the  pretense  of  preparing  the  corpse  of  Nouzatalfuad  for  burial, 
he  mourned  for  her,  and,  having  dismissed  the  council,  arose  and  went 
in,  leaning  upon  Mesrour  his  executioner,  to  console  the  Lady  Zobeide 
for  the  loss  of  her  slave  girl.  He  found  her,  however,  sitting  weeping, 
and  waiting  for  his  arrival,  that  she  might  console  him  for  the  loss  of 
Abou  Hassan  the  Wag.  The  caliph  said,  May  thy  head  long  survive  thy 
slave  girl,  Nouzatalfuad!  But  she  replied,  O  my  lord,  Allah  preserve 
my  slave  girl!  Mayest  thou  long  survive  thy  boon-companion  Abou 
Hassan  the  Wag;  for  he  is  dead!  And  the  caliph  smiled,  and  said  to  his 
eunuch,  O  Mesrour,  verily  women  are  of  little  sense.  By  Allah,  was 
not  Abou  Hassan  just  now  with  me?  Upon  this  the  Lady  Zobeide  said, 


ARABIA— ANONYMOUS  in 

after  uttering  a  laugh  from  an  angry  bosom,  Wilt  thou  not  give  over 
thy  jesting?  Is  not  the  death  of  Abou  Hassan  enough,  but  thou  must 
make  my  slave  girl  to  be  dead,  as  though  we  had  lost  them  both,  and 
thou  must  pronounce  me  of  little  sense?  The  caliph  replied,  Verily 
Nouzatalf  uad  is  the  person  who  is  dead.  And  the  Lady  Zobeide  rejoined, 
In  truth  he  was  not  with  thee,  nor  didst  thou  see  him;  and  none  was 
with  me  just  now  but  Nouzatalfuad,  who  was  mourning  and  weeping, 
with  her  clothes  rent  in  pieces;  and  I  exhorted  her  to  have  patience,  and 
gave  her  a  hundred  pieces  of  gold,  and  a  piece  of  silk;  and  I  was  waiting 
for  thee,  that  I  might  console  thee  for  the  loss  of  thy  boon-companion 
Abou  Hassan  the  Wag;  and  I  was  going  to  send  for  thee.  On  hearing 
this  the  caliph  laughed,  and  said,  None  is  dead  but  Nouzatalfuad.  And 
the  Lady  Zobeide  said,  No,  no,  O  my  lord;  none  is  dead  but  Abou 
Hassan.  But  the  caliph  now  became  enraged;  the  vein  between  his  eyes, 
which  was  remarkable  in  members  of  the  family  of  Hashim,  throbbed, 
and  he  called  out  to  Mesrour  the  Executioner,  saying  to  him,  Go  forth 
and  repair  to  the  house  of  Abou  Hassan  the  Wag,  and  see  which  of  the 
two  is  dead/ 

Mesrour,  therefore,  went  forth  running.  And  the  caliph  said  to  the 
Lady  Zobeide,  Wilt  thou  lay  me  a  wager?  She  answered,  Yes,  I  will, 
and  I  say  that  Abou  Hassan  is  dead.  And  I,  replied  the  caliph,  lay  a 
wager,  an$  say  that  none  is  dead  but  Nouzatalfuad;  and  our  wager  shall 
be,  that  I  stake  the  Garden  of  Delight  against  thy  pavilion,  the  Pavilion 
of  the  Pictures.  And  they  sat  waiting  for  Mesrour  to  return  with  the 
information.  Now  as  to  Mesrour,  he  ran  without  ceasing  until  he  entered 
the  by-street  in  which  was  the  house  of  Abou  Hassan  the  Wag.  Abou 
Hassan  was  sitting  reclining  against  the  window,  and,  turning  his  eyes, 
he  saw  Mesrour  running  along  the  street.  So  he  said  to  Nouzatalfuad, 
It  seemeth  that  the  caliph,  after  I  went  forth  from  him,  dismissed  the 
court,  and  hath  gone  in  to  the  Lady  Zobeide  to  console  her,  and  that  she, 
on  his  arrival,  hath  arisen  and  consoled  him,  and  said  to  him,  May  God 
largely  compensate  thee  for  the  loss  of  Abou  Hassan  the  Wag!  where- 
upon the  caliph  hath  said  to  her,  None  is  dead  but  Nouzatalfuad.  May 
thy  head  long  survive  her!  And  she  hath  replied,  None  is  dead  but  Abou 
Hassan  the  Wag,  thy  boon-companion.  And  he  hath  said  again  to  her, 
None  is  dead  but  Nouzatalfuad.  So  they  have  become  obstinate,  and  the 
caliph  hath  been  enraged,  and  they  have  laid  a  wager,  in  consequence 
of  which  Mesrour  the  Executioner  hath  been  sent  to  see  who  is  dead.  It 
is  therefore  the  more  proper  that  thou  lay  thyself  down,  that  he  may 
see  thee,  and  go  and  inform  the  caliph,  who  will  thereupon  believe  my 
assertion. 

Accordingly,  Nouzatalfuad  extended  herself,  and  Abou  Hassan  cov- 
ered her  with  her  veil,  and  seated  himself  at  her  head,  weeping.  And 
lo,  Mesrour  the  eunuch  came  up  into  the  house  of  Abou  Hassan,  and 


II*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

saluted  him,  and  saw  Nouzatalfuad  stretched  out;  upon  which  he  un- 
covered her  face,  and  exclaimed,  There  is  no  deity  but  God!  Our  sister 
Nouzatalfuad  is  dead!  How  speedy  was  the  stroke  of  fate!  May  Allah 
have  mercy  upon  her,  and  acquit  thee  of  responsibility!  He  then  returned, 
and  related  what  had  happened  before  the  caliph  and  the  Lady  Zobeide, 
laughing  as  he  spoke.  So  the  caliph  said  to  him,  O  thou  accursed,  this  is 
not  a  time  for  laughing.  Tell  us  which  of  them  is  dead.  He  therefore 
replied,  By  Allah,  O  my  lord,  verily  Abou  Hassan  is  well,  and  none  is 
dead  but  Nouzatalfuad.  And  upon  this  the  caliph  said  to  Zobeide,  Thou 
hast  lost  thy  pavilion  in  thy  play.  And  he  laughed  at  her,,  and  said,  O 
Mesrour,  relate  to  her  what  thou  sawest.  So  Mesrour  said  to  her,  In 
truth,  O  my  mistress,  I  ran  incessantly  until  I  went  in  to  Abou  Hassan 
in  his  house;  whereupon  I  found  Nouzatalfuad  lying  dead,  and  Abou 
Hassan  sitting  at  her  head,  weeping;  and  I  saluted  him,  and  consoled 
him,  and  seated  myself  by  his  side;  and,  uncovering  the  face  of  Nouza- 
talfuad, I  beheld  her  dead,  with  her  face  swollen:  I  therefore  said  to 
him,  Convey  her  forth  presently  to  the  grave,  that  we  may  pray  over 
her.  And  he  replied,  Yes.  And  I  came,  leaving  him  to  prepare  her  corpse 
for  burial,  in  order  to  inform  you.  Upon  this  the  caliph  laughed,  and 
said,  Tell  it  again  and  again  to  thy  mistress,  the  person  of  little  sense. 
But  when  the  Lady  Zobeide  heard  the  words  of  Mesrour,  she  was  en- 
raged, and  said,  None  is  deficient  in  sense  but  he  who  believ^th  a  slave. 
And  she  abused  Mesrour,  while  the  caliph  continued  laughing;  and  Mes- 
rour was  displeased,  and  said  to  the  caliph,  He  spoke  truth  who  said  that 
women  are  deficient  in  sense  and  religion. 

The  Lady  Zobeide  then  said,  O  Prince  of  the  Faithful,  thou  sportest 
and  jestest  with  me,  and  this  slave  deceiveth  me  for  the  purpose  of 
pleasing  thee;  but  I  will  send  and  see  which  of  them  is  dead.  The  caliph 
replied,  Do  so.  And  she  called  to  an  old  woman,  a  confidential  slave, 
and  said  to  her,  Repair  quickly  to  the  house  of  Nouzatalfuad,  and  see 
who  is  dead,  and  delay  not  thy  return.  And  she  threw  money  to  her.  So 
the  old  woman  went  forth  running,  the  caliph  and  Mesrour  laughing. 
The  old  woman  ran  without  ceasing  until  she  entered  the  street,  when 
Abou  Hassan  saw  her  and  knew  her;  and  he  said  to  his  wife,  O  Nouza- 
talfuad, it  seemeth  that  the  Lady  Zobeide  hath  sent  to  us  to  see  who  is 
dead,  and  hath  not  believed  what  Mesrour  hath  said  respecting  thy  death: 
wherefore  she  hath  sent  the  old  woman  to  ascertain  the  truth  of  the 
matter.  It  is  therefore  more  proper  now  for  me  to  be  dead,  that  the 
Lady  Zobeide  may  believe  thee. 

Then  Abou  Hassan  laid  himself  along,  and  Nouzatalfuad  covered 
him,  and  bound  his  eyes  and  his  feet,  and  seated  herself  at  his  head, 
weeping.  And  the  old  woman  came  in  to  Nouzatalfuad,  and  saw  her 
sitting  at  the  head  of  Abou  Hassan,  weeping,  and  enumerating  his 
merits;  and  when  Nouzatalfuad  saw  the  old  woman,  she  shrieked,  and 


ARABIA— ANONYMOUS  113 

said  to  her,  See  what  hath  befallen  me!  Abou  Hassan  hath  died  and 
left  me  single  and  solitary!  Then  she  shrieked  again,  and  tore  her 
clothes  in  pieces,  and  said  to  the  old  woman,  O  my  mother,  how  good 
he  was!  The  old  woman  replied,  Truly  thou  art  excusable;  for  thou 
hadst  become  habituated  to  him,  and  he  had  become  habituated  to  thee. 
And  knowing  how  Mesrour  had  acted  to  the  caliph  and  the  Lady 
Zobeide,  she  said  to  Nouzatalfuad,  Mesrour  is  about  to  cause  a  quarrel 
between  the  caliph  and  the  Lady  Zobeide.  And  what  is  this  cause  of 
quarrel,  O  my  mother?  said  Nouzatalfuad.  The  old  woman  answered, 
O  my  daughter,  Mesrour  hath  come  to  them  and  told  them  that  thou 
wast  dead,  and  that  Abou  Hassan  was  well.  O  my  aunt,  replied  Nouza- 
talfuad, I  was  just  now  with  my  lady,  and  she  gave  me  a  hundred 
pieces  of  gold  and  a  piece  of  silk;  and  see  thou  my  condition,  and  what 
hath  befallen  me.  I  am  perplexed;  and  what  shall  I  do,  single  and  soli- 
tary? Would  that  I  had  died,  and  that  he  had  lived!  Then  she  wept, 
and  the  old  woman  wept  with  her,  and  advancing,  and  uncovering  the 
face  of  Abou  Hassan,  saw  his  eyes  bound,  and  swollen  from  the  bandage. 
And  shi*  covered  him,  and  said,  Truly,  O  Nouzatalfuad,  thou  hast  been 
afflicted  for  Abou  Hassan.  And  she  consoled  her,  and  went  forth  from 
her  running  until  she  went  in  to  the  Lady  Zobeide,  when  she  related  to 
her  the  story;  on  hearing  which,  the  Lady  Zobeide  laughed,  and  said, 
Tell  it  to  th*»,  caliph  who  hath  pronounced  me  of  little  sense,  and  caused 
this  ill-omened,  lying  slave  to  behave  arrogantly  toward  me.  But  Mes- 
rour said,  Verily  this  old  woman  lieth;  for  I  saw  Abou  Hassan  in  good 
health,  and  it  was  Nouzatalfuad  who  was  lying  dead.  The  old  woman 
replied,  It  is  thou  who  liest,  and  thou  desirest  to  excite  a  quarrel  between 
the  caliph  and  the  Lady  Zobeide.  Mesrour  rejoined,  None  lieth  but 
thou,  O  ill-omened  old  woman,  and  thy  lady  believeth  thee,  for  she  is 
disordered  in  mind.  And  upon  this  the  Lady  Zobeide  cried  out  at  him, 
enraged  at  him  and  at  his  words;  and  she  wept.  ^ 

At  length  the  caliph  said  to  her,  I  lie,  and  my  eunuch  lieth,  and  thou 
liest,  and  thy  female  slave  lieth.  The  right  course,  in  my  opinion,  is  this, 
that  we  four  go  together  to  see  who  among  us  speaketh  truth.  So  Mes- 
rour said,  Arise  with  us,  that  I  may  bring  misfortunes  upon  this  ill- 
omened  old  woman,  and  bastinade  her  for  her  lying.  O  thou  imbecile  in 
mind!  exclaimed  the  old  woman:  is  thy  sense  like  mine?  Nay,  thy  sense 
is  like  that  of  the  hen.  And  Mesrour  was  enraged  at  her  words,  and 
would  have  laid  violent  hands  upon  her;  but  the  Lady  Zobeide,  having 
pushed  him  away  from  her,  said  to  him,  Immediately  will  her  veracity 
be  distinguished  from  thine,  and  her  lying  from  thine.  They  all  four 
arose,  laying  wagers  with  each  other,  and  wertt  forth  and  walked  from 
the  gate  of  the  palace  until  they  entered  the  gate  of  the  street  in  which 
dwelt  Abou  Hassan  the  Wag:  when  Abou  Hassan  saw  them,  and  said 
to  his  wife  Nouzatalfuad,  In  truth,  everything  that  is  slippery  is  not  a 


xi4  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

pancake,  and  not  every  time  the  jar  is  struck  doth  it  escape  unbroken.  It 
seemeth  that  the  old  woman  hath  gone  and  related  the  story  to  her  lady, 
and  acquainted  her  with  our  case,  and  that  she  hath  contended  with 
Mesrour  the  eunuch,  and  they  have  laid  wagers  respecting  our  death:  so 
the  caliph,  and  the  eunuch,  and  the  Lady  Zobeide,  and  the  old  woman 
have  all  four  come  to  us.  And  upon  this  Nouzatalfuad  arose  from  her 
extended  position,  and  said,  What  is  to  be  done?  Abou  Hassan  answered 
her,  We  will  both  feign  ourselves  dead,  and  lay  ourselves  out  and  hold 
in  our  breath.  And  she  assented  to  his  proposal.  f 

They  both  stretched  themselves  along,  bound  their  feet,  closed  their 
eyes,  and  held  in  their  breath,  lying  with  their  heads  in  the  direction  of 
the  kebla,  and  covered  themselves  with  the  veil.  Then  the  caliph,  and 
Zobeide,  and  Mesrour,  and  the  old  woman  entered  the  house  of  Abou 
Hassan  the  Wag,  and  found  him  and  his  wife  extended  as  if  they  were 
dead.  And  when  the  Lady  Zobeide  saw  them,  she  wept,  and  said,  They 
continued  to  assert  the  death  of  my  female  slave  until  she  actually  died; 
but  I  imagine  that  the  death  of  Abou  Hassan  so  grieved  her  that  she  died 
after  him  in  consequence  of  it.  The  caliph,  howe/*  P.1  said,  Do  Hot  pre- 
vent me  with  thy  talk  and  assertions;  for  she  dier/ca  /fore  Abou  Hassan, 
because  Abou  Hassan  came  to  me  with  his  clo£c£Prtorn  in  pieces,  and 
with  his  beard  plucked,  and  striking  his  bosom  with  two  clods;  and  I 
gave  him  a  hundred  pieces  of  gold,  with  a  piece  of  silk,  and-  said  to  him, 
Go,  prepare  her  body  for  burial,  and  I  will  give  thee  a  concubine  better 
than  her,  and  she  shall  serve  in  her  stead:  and  it  appears  that  her  loss 
was  insupportable  to  him;  so  he  died  after  her.  I  have  therefore  over- 
come thee,  and  gained  thy  stake.  But  the  Lady  Zobeide  replied  in  many 
words,  and  a  long  dispute  ensued  between  them. 

The  caliph  then  seated  himself  at  the  heads  of  the  two  pretended 
corpses,  and  said,  By  the  tomb  of  the  Apostle  of  Allah  (God  favor  and 
preserve  him!),  and  by  the  tortibs  of  my  ancestors,  if  anyone  would 
acquaint  me  which  of  them  died  before  the  other,  I  would  give  him  a 
thousand  pieces  of  gold.  And  when  Abou  Hassan  heard  these  words  of 
the  caliph,  he  quickly  rose  and  sprang  up,  and  said,  It  was  I  who  died 
first,*  O  Prince  of  the  Faithful.  Give  me  the  thousand  pieces  of  gold, 
and  so  acquit  thyself  of  the  bath  that  thou  hast  sworn.  Then  Nouza- 
talfuad arose  and  sat  up  before  the  caliph  and  the  Lady  Zobeide,  who 
rejoiced  at  their  safety.  But  Zobeide  chid  her  female  slave.  The  caliph 
and  the  Lady  Zobeide  congratulated  them  both  on  their  safety,  and  knew 
this  pretended  death  was  a  stratagem  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  the 
gold:  so  the  Lady  Zobeide  said  to  Nouzatalfuad,  Thou  shouldst  have 
asked  of  me  what  thou  desiredst  without  this  proceeding,  and  not  have 
tortured  my  heart  on  thine  account.  I  was  ashamed,  O  my  mistress, 
replied  Nouzatalfuad.  But  as  to  the  caliph,  he  was  almost  senseless  from 
laughing,  and  said,  O  Abou  Hassan,  thou  hast  not  ceased  to  be  a  wag, 


ARABIA— ANONYMOUS  115 

and  to  do  wonders  and  strange  acts.  Abou  Hassan  replied,  O  Prince  of 
the  Faithful,  this  stratagem  I  practised  in  consequence  of  the  dissipation 
of % the  wealth  that  I  received  from  thy  hand;  for  I  was  ashamed  to  ask 
of  thee  a  second  time.  When  I  was  alone,  I  was  not  tenacious  of  wealth; 
but  since  thou  hast  married  me  to  this  female  slave  who  is  with  me,  if 
I  possessed  all  thy  wealth  I  should  make  an  end  of  it.  And  when  all 
that  was  in  my  possession  was  exhausted,  I  practised  this  stratagem,  by 
means  of  which  I  obtained  from  thee  these  hundred  pieces  of  gold  and 
the  piece  of  silk,  all  of  which  are  an  alms  of  our  lord.  And  now  make 
haste  in  giving  me  the  thousand  pieces  of  gold,  and  acquit  thyself  of 
thine  oath. 

At  this  the  caliph  and  the  Lady  Zobeide  both  laughed;  and  after  they 
had  returned  to  the  palace,  the  caliph  gave  to  Abou  Hassan  the  thousand 
pieces  of  gold,  saying  to  him,  Receive  them  as  a  gratuity  on  account  of 
thy  safety  from  death.  In  like  manner,  also,  the  Lady  Zobeide  gave  to 
Nouzatalfuad  a  thousand  pieces  of  gold,  saying  to  her  the  same  words. 
Then  the  caliph  allotted  to  Abou  Hassan  an  ample  salary  and  ample 
supplied,  and  he  ceased  not  to  live  with  his  wife  in  joy  and  happiness, 
until  they  were  visited  by  the  terminator  of  delights  and  the  separator 
of  companions,  the  devastator  of  palaces  and  houses,  and  the  replenisher 
of  the  graves. 


Great  Britain 


INTRODUCTION 

history  of  the  short  story  in  Great  Britain  can  be  traced  back  to 
JL  the  very  earliest  epoch,  before  even  the  formation  of  the  language  it- 
self. By  varying  one's  definition  of  the  term  "short  story,"  it  is  pos- 
sible to  fix  a  date  as  early  as  the  Seventh  or  the  Eighth  Century  A.D.,  or 
as  late  as  the  days  of  Addison,  a  thousand  years  after.  The  first  example 
chosen  for  this  collection  is  a  brief  episode  from  the  Anglo-Saxon  epic 
tale  of  Beowulf.  When  "our  own  branch  of  the  Teutonic  race  migrated 
from  the  Continent,  among  the  furniture  it  deemed  too  precioifs  to  be 
left  behind  was,  apparently,  the  group  of  legends  from  which  sprang 
Beowulf"  (Walker.)  Apart  from  such  largely  mythological  works,  we 
find  in  the  ecclesiastical  literature  (particularly  in  the  writings  of  Bede 
and  Alfred)  little  stories  which  were  used  in  sermons.  Thesfc  were  popu- 
lar for  centuries,  and  in  the  form  of  apologues  and  fables  were  in  later 
times  collected  into  such  books  as  the  Thirteenth  Century  South  English 
Legendary. 

To  trace  the  many  and  diverse  influences — French,  German,  Scandi- 
navian and  Celtic — that  operated  to  produce  the  tales  and  poetical  ro- 
mances of  the  Middle  Ages,  is  here  out  of  the  question.  It  is  sufficient 
to  state  that  tales  and  traditional  lore  from  all  these  sources  were  told 
and  retold  by  poets  and  singers,  priests  and  kings,  each  adapting  the  old 
material  to  his  own  ends.  Of  the  writers  who  flourished  in  England  before 
the  time  of  Malory,  only  a  few  are  represented  in  this  volume:  the 
authors  of  the  stories  in  The  Mabinoglon  and  the  Gesta  Romanorum, 
and  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth. 

Chaucer's  contribution  to  English  literature  is,  of  course,  of  the  first 
importance,  but  his  original  prose  tales  are  neither  very  short  nor  very 
interesting.  His  contemporaries,  Langland  and  Gower,  were  somewhat 
better  equipped,  bringing  as  they  did  a  sense  of  proportion  into  their 
otherwise  inferior  work.  In  the  period  between  Chaucer  and  the  end  of 
the  Fifteenth  Century,  when  the  Morte  ^Arthur  appeared,  there  is, 
except  for  the  Gesta  Romanorum,  very  little  to  detain  us  in  our  rapid 
survey  of  the  development  of  the  short  story. 

When  the  ideas  of  the  Italian  Renaissance  were  at  last  introduced  into 
England,  there  were  several  writers  ready  to  translate,  adapt,  and  imitate 

116 


GREAT  BRITAIN— INTRODUCTION  117 

the  stories  of  Boccaccio  and  his  followers.  Among  the  first  of  the  Eng- 
lish collections  of  tales  was  Painter's  famous  Palace  of  Pleasure  (1566- 
67^,  to  which  Shakespeare  was  indebted  for  more  than  one  of  his  plots. 
Though  the  Elizabethans  never  altogether  assimilated  the  Italian  tale, 
men  like  Greene  occasionally  produced  clever  imitations.  Thomas  De- 
loney  was  an  exceptional  figure:  his  homely  and  realistic  stories  of  middle- 
and  lower-class  life  are  still  worth  reading.  The  other  fiction  writers — 
Lyly  and  Lodge  and  the  rest— were  preoccupied  rather  with  evolving 
a  literary  style  than  with  the  telling  of  effective  stories. 

Between  the  age  of  Elizabeth  and  that  of  Anne  there  is  little  to  record. 
With  the  advent  of  Addison  and  Defoe  a  new  epoch  opened.  Addison  has 
so  long  been  praised  as  a  stylist  that  it  is  time  we  remembered  him  as  a 
story  writer.  His  narratives  in  The  Spectator  are  among  the  very  best 
specimens  of  their  kind  in  English  literature.  And  to  Defoe  is  due  the 
credit  not  only  for  his  epoch-making  Robinson  Crusoey  but  for  his  re- 
markable realistic  tales,  The  Cock-Lane  Ghost  and  The  Apparition  of 
Mrs.  Veal. 

The4ittle  moral  tale,  as  told  by  Addison  and  Steele,  was  taken  up  by 
Hawkesworth,  Johnson,  and  Goldsmith,  while  even  the  novelists  (in  par- 
ticular Laurence  Sterne)  delighted  to  break  the  thread  of  their  long 
•narratives  in  order  to  introduce  episodes  that  are  true  short  stories.  By  the 
end  of  the  ^Eighteenth  Century  there  were  comparatively  few  writers 
who  did  anything  with-  the  story,  and  although  Scott  and  Dickens  wrote 
brief  narratives,  and  an  occasional  Lover  or  Carleton  devoted  his  life  to 
the  exploitation  of  character  in  the  briefer  narrative  form,  it  was  not 
until  after  the  middle  of  the  Nineteenth  Century  that  the  short  story 
came  into  its  own.  The  second  half  of  the  last  century,  not  only  in  Eng- 
land, but  throughout  Europe  and  America,  was  an  age  of  great  fiction — 
both  in  the  novel  and  the  short  story. 

There  is  no  use  in  repeating  the  names  of  the  great  story  writers  of 
modern  times;  it  is  enough  to  say  that  nearly  all  the  novelists  of  Vic- 
torian and  later  days  wrote  short  tales  as  well  as  long  ones. 

In  more  recent  times  we  have  seen  the  development  of  the  short  story  in 
the  hands  of  specialists,  like  Kipling  and  Morrison,  Jacobs  and  Merrick, 
writers  who  regard  the  story  as  an  independent  literary  form  deserving 
a  life-time  of  application  and  care. 


GRENDEL'S  RAID 

(Anonymous:  About  7th  Century,  A.D.) 

THE  poet  who  wrote  the  first  important  extant  specimen  of  Anglo- 
Saxon  literature  was  probably  an  inhabitant  of  Anglia,  and  except 


xi8  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

that  he  wrote  Beowulf  late  in  the  Seventh  Century  or  early  in  the 
Eighth  (not  later  than  752),  we  know  nothing  of  him.  Apart  from 
.  its  intrinsic  merits,  Beowulf  is  the  "oldest  surviving  epic  of  any 
Teutonic  people."  It  is  partly  mythological,  but  it  does  contain  a 
certain  amount  of  historical  fact.  The  grim  tale  here  offered  is  a 
crude  but  stirring  narrative. 

The  present  version,  translated  from  the  Anglo-Saxon  by  J.  R.  C. 
Hall,  is  from  Beowulf  and  the  Finnsburg  Fragment,  published  in 
London  in  1911  by  George  Allen  and  Unwin,  by  whose  permission 
it  is  here  reprinted.  There  is  no  title  in  the  original. 


GRENDEL'S  RAID 
(From  Beowulf) 

came  Grendel,  advancing  from  the  moor,  under  the  misty 
JL  slopes;  God's  anger  rested  on  him.  The  deadly  foe  thought  to 
entrap  one  of  the  human  race  in  the  high  Hall:  he  strode  beneath  the 
clouds  in  such  wise  that  he  might  best  discern  the  wine-building,  the 
gold  chamber  of  men,  resplendent  with  adornment.  Nor  was  that  the 
first  time  that  he  had  visited  Hrothgar's  home.  Never  in  the  days  of  his 
life,  before  or  since,  did  he  discover  a  braver  warrior  and  hall-guards. 

So  this  creature,  deprived  of  joys,  came  journeying  to  file  hall.  The 
door,  fastened  by  four  bands,  opened  straightway,  when  he  touched  it 
with  his  hand.  Thus,  bent  on  destruction,  for  he  was  swollen  with  rage, 
he  tore  away  the  entrance  of  the  building. 

Quickly,  after  that,  the  fiend  stepped  onto  the  fair-paved  floor,  ad- 
vanced in  angry  mood;  out  of  his  eyes  there  started  a  weird  light,  most 
like  a  flame.  He  saw  many  men  in  the  hall,  a  troop  of  kinsmen,  a  band 
of  warriors,  sleeping  all  together.  Then  his  spirit  exulted;  he,  the  cruel 
monster,  resolved  that  he  would  sever  the  soul  of  every  one  of  them 
from  his  body  before  day  came;  for  the  hope  of  feasting  full  had  come 
to  him.  That  was  no  longer  his  fortune,  that  he  should  devour  more  of 
human  kind  after  that  night.  Hygelac's  mighty  kinsman  kept  watching 
how  the  murderous  foe  would  set  to  work  with  his  sudden  snatchings. 
The  monster  was  not  minded  to  put  it  off,  but  quickly  seized  a  sleeping 
warrior  as  a  first  start,  rent  him  undisturbed,  bit  his  sinews,  drank  the 
blood  from  his  veins,  swallowed  bite  after  bite,  and  soon  he  had  eaten 
up  all  of  the  dead  man,  even  his  feet  and  hands. 

Forward  and  nearer  he  advanced,  and  then  seized  with  his  hands 
the  doughty  warrior  on  his  bed — the  fiend  reached  out  towards  him  with 
his  claw.  He  (Beowulf)  at  once  took  in  his  evil  plans,' and  pressed  heavily 
on  his  .(Grendel's)  arm.  Instantly  the  master  of  crimes  realized  that 
never  in  this  middle-world,  these  regions  of  earth,  had  he  met  with  a 
mightier  hand-grip  in  any  other  man.  He  became  affrighted  in  soul  and 


GREAT  BRITAIN—ANONYMOUS  119 

spirit,  but  he  could  get  away  no  faster  for  all  that.  His  mind  was  bent 
on  getting  off, — he  wished  to  flee  into  the  darkness  and  go  back  to  the 
herd  of  devils.  His  case  was  unlike  anything  he  had  met  with  in  his  iif  e- 
time  there  before.  Then  Hygelac's  brave  kinsman  was  mindful  of  his 
evening  speech:  he  stood  erect  and  grasped  him  tight, — his  fingers  burst. 
The  monster  was  moving  out;  the  chief  stepped  forward  too.  The  in- 
famous creature  thought  to  slip  further  off,  wheresoever  he  could,  and 
to  flee  away  thence  to  his  fen-refuge;  he  knew  the  power  of  his  fingers 
was  in  the  foeman's  grip.  That  was  a  sorry  journey  which  the  baleful 
fiend  had  made  to  Heorot!  '» 

The  warriors'  hall  resounded,  there  was  panic  among  all  the  Danes, 
the  castle-dwellers,  the  nobles  and  the  heroes  every  one.  Both  the  raging 
wardens  of  the  house  were  furious;  the  building  rang  again.  Then  was 
it  a  great  wonder  that  the  wine-hall  was  proof  against  the  savage  fighters, 
— that  the  fair  earthly  dwelling  did  not  fall  to  the  ground;  yet  it  was 
(made)  firm  enough  for  it,  inside  and  out,  by  means  of  iron  clamps, 
forged  with  curious  art.  There,  where  the  foemen  fought,  many  a 
mead-bench  adorned  with  gilding,  started  from  the  sill,  as  I  have  heard. 
Before  that,  veterans  of  the  Scyldings  weened  that  no  man  could  shatter 
it,  splendid  and  horn-bedecked,  in  any  wise,  or  ruin  it  by  craft,  although 
the  embrace  of  fire  might  swallow  it  in  smoke. 

A  sound  za-ose,  startling  enough;  a  horrible  fear  clung  to  the  North 
Danes,  to  everyone  who  heard  the  shrieking  from  the  wall — (heard) 
the  adversary  of  God  chant  his  grisly  lay,  his  song  of  non-success, — the 
prisoner  of  hell  wailing  over  his  wound.  He  held  him  fast  who  was 
strongest  of  men  in  might  in  this  life's  day! 

The  defender  of  nobles  would  not  by  any  means  let  the  murderous 
visitor  escape  alive, — he  did  not  count  his  (GrendePs)  life  (-days)  of 
use  to  any  of  the  people.  There  many  a  noble  of  Beowulf's  company 
brandished  an  old  ancestral  weapon — they  wished  to  protect  the  life  of 
their  lord,  of  their  famous  chief,  if  so  be  they  might.  They  did  not  know, 
brave-minded  men  of  war,  when  they  took  part  in  the  contest,  and 
thought  to  hew  at  him  on  every  side,  and  to  hunt  out  his  life,  that  no 
war-bill  on  earth,  no  best  of  sabers,  could  touch  the  cursed  foe,  for  that 
he  used  enchantment  against  conquering  weapons,  every  sort  of  blades. 

In  this  life's  day  his  breaking-up  was  to  be  pitiable — the  alien  spirit 
was  to  journey  far  into  the  power  of  fiends.  Then  he  who  of  yore 
had  accomplished  much  of  the  joy  of  his  heart,  of  crime  against  man- 
kind, he,  the  'rebel  against  God,  discovered  this — that  his  bodily  frame 
was  no  help  to  him,  but  that  the  bold  kinsman  of  Hygelac  had  him  by 
the  hands.  While  he  lived,  each  was  abhorrent  to  the  other.  The  horrible 
wretch  suffered  deadly  hurt,  on  his  shoulder  gaped  a  wound  past  remedy, 
the  sinews  sprang  asunder,  the  tendons  burst.  Glory  in  fight  was  granted 
to  Beowulf;  Grendel,  sick  to  death,  must  needs  flee  thence  under  the 


120  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

fen-fastnesses — seek  out  his  joyless  dwelling; — he  knew  too  well  that 
the  end  of  his  life  had  come,  the  (daily-)  number  of  his  days.  After  that 
bloody  contest,  the  desire  of  all  the  Danes  had  come  to  pass!  * 


GEOFFREY  OF  MONMOUTH 


OUR  information  about  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth  is  very  limited. 
He  was  probably  of  Welsh  origin,  and  lived  in  the  Welsh  Marches, 
not  far  from  the  scenes  of  the  most  famous  exploits  of  Arthur 
and  his  knights.  His  Chronicle  has  been  aptly  called  a  "romance- 
history."  The  twelve  books  or  chapters  of  which  it  is  composed  are 
stories  of  the  early  (actual  or  imaginary)  rulers  of  Britain.  Among 
the  finest  of  these  are  the  stories  of  King  Lear,  King  Arthur,  and  the 
one  here  reprinted.  Esyllt  and  Sabrina  is  one  of  the  loveliest  of  all 
the  early  English  tales. 

The  present  version,  translated  from  the  original  Latin  by  Louisa 
J.  Menzies,  is  reprinted  from  Legendary  Tales  of  the  Ancient 
Britons,  London,  1864. 


ESYLLT  AND  SABRINA 
(From  the  Chronicle  of  Geoffrey  of  Monmouth) 

IT  was  about  three  thousand  years  ago  that  there  lived  a  fierce  warrior, 
named  Hymyr,  the  Hun,  whose  chief  delight  it  was  to  voyage  about 
over  the  mighty  sea,  and  to  make  descents  upon  fruitful  lands  and  take 
to  himself  by  rapine  and  violence  the  produce  of  the  long  toil  of  the 
husbandman  and  the  artisan;  nor  was  he  always  content  with  stores 
of  corn,  treasure  of  gold,  of  silver,  and  apparel;  many  fair  children 
did  he  carry  off  from  burning  homesteads,  young  maidens,  and  even 
wives,  who  sorrowed  in  vain  for  slaughtered  husbands  and  brothers,  and 
bore  in  pale  resignation  the  stern  rule  of  the  tyrant  and  his  haughty 
queen. 

Once  Hymyr  fitted  out  a  great  armament,  and  voyaging  up  the  river 
Albis,  carried  off  from  its  banks  the  fair  daughter  of  a  German  King, 
whom  he  found  playing  with  her  maidens  in  a  flowery  meadow;  then  he 
coasted  along  the  shore  of  Frisia,  a  terror  to  the  husbandmen,  and,  foras- 
much as  he  had  heard  that  there  was  much  and  singular  wealth  in  the 
island  of  Albion,  newly  named  Britain,  from  its  King  Brutus,  he  turned 
the  heads  of  his  ships  northward,  and  came  to  the  part  of  the  island 


GREAT  BRITAIN— GEOFFREY  OF  MONMOUTH  121 

that  lies  towards  the  Great  Bear,  and  which  was  then  called  Albany. 
Landing  here  with  his  fierce  sea-robbers,  he  easily  defeated  Albanactus, 
the  king,  who  came  hastily  to  meet  him  with  raw  levies,  for  he  was  but 
newly  come  to  his  throne,  and  was  thinking  of  nothing  less  than  invasion. 

Then  Hymyr  had  a  joyous  time  of  it,  he  reveled  and  feasted  in  the 
halls  of  Albanactus,  and  so  pleasant  did  the  country  seem  in  his  eyes,  with 
its  great  rows  of  purple  mountains,  its  gleaming  lakes  abounding  in  fish, 
and  its  forests  teeming  with  game,  that  he  was  in  no  hurry  to  take  to  the 
sea  again:  so  he  hunted  and  feasted  till  the  summer  was  past  its  prime, 
eating  the  good  fruits  of  the  earth,  and  making  the  land  desolate  of 
men.  Then  news  came  to  him  that  Albanactus,  the  king,  was  marching 
up  from  the  south  with  an  army  of  tried  warriors,  the  warriors  of 
Locrinus,  his  brother,  King  of  Loegria,  for  so  the  southern  part  of 
Britain  was  named,  and  that  Locrinus  himself  was  with  them. 

Then  Hymyr  might  have  got  on  board  his  ships  and  sailed  away  as 
he  had  been  wont  to  do,  but  the  gods  had  maddened  him  with  long 
good  fortune,  and  nothing  seemed  good  to  him  but  to  go  and  meet  the 
brothciS;  for  he  thought  in  his  heart  that  he  would  slay  them  both,  and 
possess  their  lands;  but  the  gods  had  willed  it  otherwise.  The  armies 
met  at  a  great  river,  half  way  down  the  island,  and,  because  the  brothers 
were  afraid  to  cross  in  the  face  of  the  enemy,  they  remained  in  their 
camp  on  th*  right  bank  of  the  river  till  they  could  construct  rafts  to 
cross  in  safety;  but  Hymyr  had  brought  his  ships  round  the  coast,  and 
impatient  of  delay,  he  went  on  board  of  them,  and  crossed  the  arm  of 
the  sea  at  the  river's  mouth,  and  his  men  came  down  on  the  compact  lines 
of  the  brothers  with  shouting  and  boasting  more  like  a  rabble  of  revelers 
than  tried  soldiers  going  into  battle. 

Then  there  was  fierce  fighting  on  both  sides,  and  the  Huns  knew 
at  last  what  was  the  manliness  of  the  Britons,  and  repented  them  in 
blood  and  agony  of  their  rash  boasting;  and  Hymyr,  their  chief,  flying 
to  his  ships,  was  carried  away  by  the  current  of  the  river,  and  drowned; 
and  the  river  perpetuates  the  memory  of  his  defeat  and  death,  even  to 
this  day;  for  the  men  of  the  country  call  it  the  Humber,  as  it  was  called 
at  that  time  from  Hymyr,  the  Hun.  x 

When  Hymyr  was  dead,  his  men,  such,  at  least,  as  remained  of  them, 
laid  down  their  arms,  and  gave  themselves  up  to  the  Kings  Locrinus 
and  Albanactus,  who  received  them  kindly,  and  gave  them  waste  lands 
to  till,  and  ordered  that  they  should  be  supplied  with  corn  till  their  own 
crops  were  grown.  Then  all  the  treasure  stored  up  in  the  ships  was  brought 
to  the  kings,  and  they  were  amazed  at  the  costly  garments,  at  the  precious 
vessels  plundered  from  the  glowing  west,  at  the  armor,  and  at  the  rich 
furniture,  spoil  of  palaces;  and  while  they  were  admiring  these  things, 
lo!  there  came  to  them  from  the  ships  the  fair  princess  Esyllt,  led  in 
triumph  by  the  soldiers  who  had  found  her  cowering  among  the  sails, 


322  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

for  she  knew  not  whether  the  defeat  of  Hymyr  were  a  cause  of  sorrow 
or  rejoicing  to  her.    ^ 

The.  warlike  bearing  of  the  sturdy  Britons  tended  little  to  reassure  her, 
and  she  came  slowly  and  fearfully  to  the  tent  where  the  princes  were  in- 
specting the  spoil;  but  when  the  eyes  of  Locrinus  lighted  on  her,  albeit 
her  looks  were  bent  on  the  ground,  and  her  long  hair  almost  hid  her  fea- 
tures, love  suddenly  flooded  his  soul,  and  he  stood  like  one  smitten  by  the 
powerful  wand  of  a  magician;  but  when  at  length  he  gathered  power  to 
speak,  and  bade  her  be  of  good  cheer,  the  sound  of  his  noble  voice  and 
his  kind  words  made  the  damsel  lift  her  eyes  with  a  touch  of  hope;  and 
when  she  beheld  the  broad  brow  of  the  king,  and  all  his  presence  radiant 
with  youth  and  love,  the  color  came  into  her  cheeks  and  she  stood  revealed 
in  all  her  beauty. 

Then  King  Locrinus  knew  what  is  the  bliss  of  the  gods  who  live  for- 
ever, but  because  he  would  not  have  the  princess  stand  as  a  captive  and 
unattended  in  a  place  so  public,  he  caused  her  to  be  conducted  in  all  honor 
to  his  own  tent,  and  spoke  to  his  brother  in  this  wise: — 

"Brother,  take  the  goodly  ships,  the  armor,  and  the  spoil;  haply  thou 
wilt  find  thy  palace  but  an  empty  barn,  and  all  thy  costly  things  wasted 
by  the  riot  of  the  slain  sea-robber;  but  leave  to  me  the  fair  Princess 
Esyllt,  for  my  soul  cleaveth  to  her,  that  I  may  make  her  my  wife;  she 
is  of  noble  parentage  and  deserveth  well  to  be  a  queen."  % 

"Alas!  my  brother,"  replied  Albanactus,  "what  frenzy  hath  seized 
thy  mind?  The  captive  is  passing  fair,  and  doubtless  of  noble  lineage,  but 
art  not  thou  affianced  to  the  Lady  Guendolen,  the  only  child  of  Corineus, 
our  father's  trusty  comrade?  How,  think  you,  will  the  haughty  chieftain 
brook  it,  if  he  hears  that  his  daughter  is  set  at  naught  for  a  captive?" 

The  face  of  Locrinus  darkened,  and  he  answered  from  a  heavy 
heart: — 

"I  never  loved  the  proud  Guendolen;  who  could  love  her?  but  because 
Corineus  wished  it,  and  because  I  thought  it  well  to  have  him  for  a 
friend  rather  than  a  foe,  I  consented  to  take  her.  But,  brother,  then  I 
had  seen  no  damsel  whom  I  desired  to  call  my  wife;  now  the  gods  hold 
out  to  me  a  joy  which  is  like  their  own;  I  will  grasp  it  if  I  die  for  it." 

Seeing  him  so  set  upon  the  matter,  Albanactus  said  no  more,  but  gath- 
ered his  spoil  together,  and  having  made  costly  presents  to  his  brother 
for  his  timely  help,  marched  homewards  where  affairs  were  eagerly  call- 
ing for  him  to  restore  law  and  order  to  his  lands.  » 

Then  Locrinus  straightway  took  the  Princess  Esyllt  for  his  wife,  and 
delighted  in  her  more  and  more:  for  she  was  as  prudent  as  she  was  beau- 
tiful, and  she  loved  the  king,  her  deliverer,  with  the  love  of  a  true  wife, 
and  of  a  noble  princess. 

•'     But  when  Corineus,  the  giant-slayer,  heard  that  Locrinus  had  taken 
*  foreign  princess  to  be  his  wife,  and  that  she  sat  beside  him  on  his  throne 


GREAT  BRITAIN— GEOFFREY  OF  MONMOUTH  123 

to  the  open  scorn  of  Guendolen,  his  daughter,  he  arose  in  great  wrath, 
and  swore  a  mighty  oath,  that  he  would  either  make  him  put  away  his 
wife  and  marry  the  Lady  Guendolen,  to  whom  he  was  affianced,  or  that 
orie  of  the  two  should  never  eat  bread  more;  and  gathering  together 
a  band  of  Cornish  men,  sons  of  the  giants,  and  taking  with  him  Guendo- 
len, his  daughter,  he  marched  eastward,  passing  like  an  angry  meteor 
through  town  and  hamlet,  for  wrath  drove  him  like  a  scourge.  r 

King  Locrinus,  hearing  of  his  coming,  and  boding  ill  of  the  issue,  hid 
his  wife  privily  in  a  shepherd's  cottage,  and  caused  a  rumor  to  be  spread 
that  at  the  terror  of  the  coming  of  the  Giant-slayer,  his  queen  had  fallen 
into  the  pangs  of  premature  labor,  and  that  she  and  her  infant  had  both 
perished;  and  to  add  greater  faith  to  the  tale,  he  had  funeral  rites  per- 
formed, and  went  heavily  as  one  who  mourneth,  and  put  on  mourning 
garments. 

These  tidings,  meeting  Corineus  on  the  way,  somewhat  slaked  the  fury 
of  his  wrath,  and  halting,  he  sent  forward  a  messenger  to  Locrinus,  to 
demand  of  him  that  he  would  fulfil  his  contract  with  the  Lady  Guen- 
dolen. , 

The  King  with  a  sad  heart  assented,  but  would  that  the  marriage  should 
be  deferred  for  the  present  that  he  might  furnish  himself  with  fitting 
ceremony  to  do  honor  to  his  bride;  but  Corineus  would  hear  nothing  of 
delay,  and  resuming  his  onward  course  burst  furiously  into  the  city  of 
Trinovant, ''where  Locrinus  abode,  and  breaking  unannounced  into  the 
presence  of  the  King  bade  him  keep  to  his  covenant,  and  take  the  Lady 
Guendolen  at  once  to  his  throne. 

The  fierce  countenance  of  Corineus  was  not  less  terrible  because  it 
was  furrowed  by  age,  and  set  round  with  strong  white  hair,  and  a  beard 
like  a  trail  of  autumn  cloud;  the  muscles  stood  out  like  serpents  from  his 
bare  arms,  and  his  loose  garment  of  Tyrian  purple  left  to  view  a  broad 
patch  of  the  shaggy  breast  against  which,  as  in  a  vise,  he  had  crushed  the 
ribs  of  the  monster  Gogmagog.  Such  as  Corineus  was,  such  were  his 
followers;  shaggy-browed,  iron-sinewed,  ample  in  stature,  resolute  in 
purpose,  and  ruthless  in  action,  they  waited  but  a  sign  from  their  chief 
to  dash  like  wolves  upon  the  homesteads  of  the  peaceful  subjects  of  the 
King,  or  to  tear  him  to  pieces  in  his  own  halls.  Then  Locrinus  sadly  gave 
yray,  priests  whom  Corineus  had  brought  with  him  performed  the  rites 
that  united  a  frowning  bride  to  a  bridegroom  in  a  mourning  habit,  and 
the  haughty  Guendolen  sat  in  the  place  of  Esyllt. 

Little  love  was  there  between  Locrinus  and  his  new  queen,  as  you 
may  well  guess;  for  the  daughter  of  Corineus  was  not  one  to  win  love; 
but  the  more  she  saw  that  the  heart  of  her  husband  was  turned  away 
from  her,  the  more  did  she  exult  in  the  submission  that  her  father  had 
forced  upon  him,  and  triumph  in  the  power  that  her  high  place  gave  her. 

Esyllt,  meanwhile,  tarried  sadly  in  the  shepherd's  cottage,  wearying  for 


124  (&EAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

the  coming  of  her  lord;  the  daily  pain  of  his  absence  left  her  little 
thought  for  her  changed  fortunes,  or  for  the  lost  throne 5  if  she  could 
only  see  him  she  thought  §he  could  be  content  to  die,  and  day  by  day 
she  sat  upon  the  lonely  shore  looking  out  on  the  immeasurable  'waters, 
or  climbed  to  the  trackless  downs,  if  perchance  he  might  be  coming 
by  sea  or  by  land;  and  when  she  came  back  weary  and  faint  to  the  cot- 
tage, she  could  find  little  comfort  in  the  talk  of  the  shepherd  and  his 
wife,  who  told  such  tales  of  the  wrath  and  of  the  strength  of  the  great 
Prince  Corineus,  that  the  poor  lady  trembled  to  think  of  her  dear  lord, 
and  lay  awake  half  the  night  weeping  and  praying  to  the  gods  to  protect 
him. 

At  length,  however,  King  Locrinus,  on  pretense  of  hunting,  con- 
trived to  steal  away  from  Guendolen,  and  to  visit  the  lonely  Esyllt,  and 
the  hearts  of  both  were  refreshed,  and  the  spark  of  life  which  was  dying 
out  in  Esyllt's  bosom  shot  up  again  into  a  bright  flame,  like  a  waning 
lamp  newly  fed  with  oil ;  and  they  dared  even  to  think  of  a  time  when 
their  troubles  might  be  at  an  end,  and  the  gods,  to  whom  all  things  are 
possible,  might  give  them  back  something  of  their  old  happiness.  But 
because  the  King  loved  Esyllt  better  than  his  life,  and  because  he  feared 
everything  from  the  jealousy  of  Guendolen  if  she  should  in  any  way  dis- 
cover that  Esyllt  lived,  he  fitted  up  a  secret  chamber,  curiously  contrived 
years  ago  by  his  father  Brutus,  for  the  deposit  of  treasure  ^r  for  other 
need;  and  thither  he  conveyed  the  princess  in  the  night,  and  hid  her 
there  for  seven  weary  years.  She  had  not  been  there  many  days,  when 
a  daughter  was  born  to  her,  and  care  for  the  new  life  that  had  opened 
in  the  grave  as  it  were,  caused  the  princess  herself  to  take  fresh  hold  on 
life,  and  gave  her  strength  to  bear  the  privation  of  the  blessed  gifts  of 
the  sun  for  all  those  years. 

The  little  Sabrina,  it  was  so  Esyllt  named  her  daughter,  pined  not  for 
what  she  knew  not  of;  the  pale  light  of  the  lamp  which  burnt  day  and 
night  in  the  chamber  could  not  ripen  the  color  in  her  cheeks  or  the 
laughter  on  her  lips  as  the  goodly  sun  does;  but  she  grew  ever  more 
sweet  and  fair,  her  one  pleasure  to  watch  the  motion  of  her  mother's 
hands  as  she  busily  plied  the  loom,  counting  the  threads  and  marking 
with  great  joy  the  pattern  as  it  sprung  into  shape  under  her  creative 
fingers;  and  so  for  seven  long  years  they  lived,  companions  only  to  each 
other^  and  looking  fondly  for  the  short  visit  which  Locrinus  from  time 
to  time  was  able  to  pay  them.  But  when  the  seven  years  were  ended,  news 
came  from  Cornwall  that  a  sudden  sickness  had  seized  Corineus,  and 
that  he  was  dead.  And  Locrinus  straightway  resolved  to  divorce  his  Queen 
Guendolen,  whose  haughty  and  cruel  temper  .made  the  lives  of  all  about 
her  bitter  to  them,  and  to  bring  the  imprisoned  Esyllt  to  light  again, 
and  place  her  once  more  on  the  throne.  When  Guendolen  heard  the  pur- 
pose of  the  King,  and  that  Esyllt  was  still  alive,  her  anger  was  very 


GREAT  BRITAIN— GEOFFREY  OF  MONlvfbUTH  125 

fierce;  but,  forasmuch,  as  there  were  none  who  loved  her  in  Loegria,  as 
Cornwall  was  far  away,  and  in  great  confusion  at  the  death  of  Corineus, 
she  dissembled  her  wrath,  and  taking  with  her  her  son  Madoc,  she  went 
back  to  her  own  Duchy  of  Cornwall,  thinking  of  nothing  but  how  she 
might  revenge  herself. 

But  Locrinus  fetched  home  his  Queen  Esyllt  and  his  little  daughter 
Sabrina  in  great  state,  and  brought  them  to  his  palace  in  Trinovant;  and 
the  whole  land  rejoiced,  as  the  earth  rejoices  and  covers  herself  with 
beauty,  when  the  cast  wind  is  driven  back  to  his  caverns,  and  the  genial 
western  breeze  dimples  the  lakes  and  calls  forth  the  lingering  flowers. 
But  those  who  were  near  enough  to  see  her  marveled  much  at  the  pale 
countenance  of  the  Queen,  and  at  the  face  of  the  little  princess,  who  sat 
like  one  dazzled  and  sorely  perplexed  by  the  side  of  her  mother. 

In  truth  the  glory  of  the  upper  world  was  well  nigh  too  much  for  the 
child,  she  hid  herself  from  the  light  and  from  the  sounds,  and  languished 
for  the  still  chamber  which  had  been  her  home;  the  crowding  faces, 
the  gay  dresses,  and  the  obsequious  manners  of  the  many  attendants  about 
the  court  bewildered  her,  and  she  glided  about  like  a  silent  shadow  after 
her  mother, Aweary  and  faint  in  spirit;  but  as  months  passed  on,  the 
strangeness  of  things  wore  off,  and  she  grew  to  endure,  and  finally  to 
love  the  open  air;  but  it  was  ever  the  paths  of  shady  forests  that  pleased 
her  most,  where  the  sunlight  came  tempered  through  countless  leaves, 
and  pale  primroses  and  lurking  violets  formed  a  chaplet  that  pleased  her 
better  than  roses  and  lilies.  Her  sweet  nature  made  her  very  courteous 
to  those  about  her,  and  she  learned  with  aptitude  the  arts  that  were  taught 
her,  so  that  men  praised  her  beauty  and  her  princely  carriage;  but  her 
cheeks  remained  ever  colorless,  and  the  smile  that  played  on  her  fea- 
tures like  moonlight  on  the  waters  was  never  broken  up  into  laughter. 

And  so  it  was,  that  when  she  was  grown  to  be  a  fair  damsel,  and  the 
King  her  father  was  thinking  to  which  of  the  foreign  princes  whom  the 
fame  of  her  beauty  had  drawn  to  his  court,  he  should  give  her  in  mar- 
riage, so  as  to  strengthen  his  own  hands  and  secure  the  throne  to  her, 
tidings  came  that  the  Lady  Guendolen  and  Madoc  her  son  were  making 
ready  to  march  eastward,  and  boasted  that  they  would  slay  Locrinus 
and  take  Esyllt  and  her  daughter  alive. 

'  Then  the  King  bestirred  himself,  and  gathering  his  troops  marched 
to  meet  them,  taking  with  him  the  Queen  and  the  Princess,  for  he  thought 
them  safe  nowhere  but  with  him,  neither  would  they  let  him  go  alone, 
for  they  saw  that  his  soul  foreboded  evil,  and  that  his  heart  was  heavy 
within  him.  And  so  it  was  that  the  armies  met  together  at  a  river  just  on 
the  frontiers  of  Cambria,  and  a  great  battle  was  fought  in  which  King 
Locrinus  was  slain  by  an  arrow,  and  Esyllt  and  her  daughter  fell  into 
the  hands  of  Guendolen. 

When  they  were  brought  before  the  daughter  of  Corineus,  the  stern 


126  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Princess  gazed  unmoved  on  the  sorrow-stricken  pair,  no  touch  of  pity 
stirring  her  bosom,  but  -vith  fierce  and  angry  words  she  reviled  them, 
heaping  insults  on  the  head  of  the  slain  King,  and  triumphing  savagely  in 
her  victory.  To  all  this  Esyllt  said  not  a  word,  she  only  embraced  h*r 
daughter,  who  clung  to  her  in  silent  terror.  Then  Guendolen  gave  orders 
that  both  should  be  taken  and  flung  without  more  ado  into  the  river  that 
was  flowing  by,  and  six  fierce  Cornish  men,  sons  of  the  giants,  sprung 
forward  to  seize  them;  but  Esyllt  lifted  her  head,  and  looking  straight 
into  the  eyes  of  Guendolen,  spoke  to  her  in  this  wise: — 

"Princess,  if  I  have  wronged  thee,  the  gods  have  richly  avenged  thee, 
seeing  that  I  did  it  unwillingly,  yea  even  unwittingly.  The  fate  thou 
adjudgest  to  me  and  to  this  child  is  a  merciful  one;  I  seek  not  to  change 
it — it  is  better  to  fall  into  the  power  of  the  gods;  add  to  it  yet  this 
favor — let  not  the  hands  of  thy  warriors  come  upon  the  maiden,  seeing 
she  is  a  Princess,  and  the  daughter  of  Locrinus.  Behold  we  go  whither 
thou  biddest  us.  May  the  gods  receive  us! " 

So  saying,  she  walked  down  the  green  meadow  to  the  amber  river 
leading  her  daughter  by  the  hand,  and  when  they  came  to  the  brink,  and 
the  murmuring  water  kissed  their  feet,  the  Queen  Esyllt  turned  her  face 
to  the  setting  sun,  silently  saluting  it,  then  folding  her  .laughter  in  her 
arms,  she  plunged  with  her  into  the  bosom  of  the  stream,  and  no  one 
saw  them  more;  but  the  name  of  the  Princess  clung  to  the  river,  and 
men  as  they  wander  by  the  Glassy  Severn  dream  even  yet  of'the  gentle 
Sabrina,  dwelling  in  the  halls  of  the  River  Gods,  and  ready  to  hearken 
to  the  cry  of  the  innocent,  and  to  lend  her  help  to  the  oppressed. 


THE  HUMBLING  OF  JOVINIAN 

(Anonymous:  i3th  Century) 

THE  famous  collection  of  medieval  tales  gathered  together  under 
the  title  Deeds  of  the  Romans  (Gesta  Romanorum)  was  compiled 
in  Latin  by  an  unidentified  preacher  some  time  between  the 
Twelfth  and  the  Fourteenth  Centuries  in  England.  The  collection 
comprises  two  hundred  and  fifteen  stories,  that  "might  be  used  to 
enforce  and  enliven  lessons  from  the  pulpit."  Each  tale  is  written 
round  some  actual  or  imaginary  Roman  emperor.  The  writer  was 
indebted  for  his  material  to  the  floating  legends  and  traditions  of 
the  Middle  Ages,  to  actual  history,  and  to  the ''fables  and  tales  of 
the  Arabs  and  other  Oriental  peoples.  First  printed  in  1473,  the 
tales  of  the  Gesta  Romanorum  have  been  utilized  time  and  again 
by  Shakespeare  and  other  writers  of  succeeding  ages. 

The  present  version   is  reprinted  from  the  translation  by  C. 
Swan,  published  in  London  in  1824. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— ANONYMOUS  117 

THE  HUMBLING  OF  JOVINIAN 
(From  the  Gcsta  Romanorum) 

rHEN  Jovinian  was  emperor,  he  had  very  great  power,  and  as  he 
lay  in  bed  reflecting  upon  the  extent  of  his  dominions,  his  heart 
was  elated. 

"Is  there,"  he  impiously  asked,  "is  there  any  other  god  than  me?" 
Amid  such  thoughts  he  fell  asleep. 

In  the  morning,  he  reviewed  his  troops,  and  said,  "My  friends,  after 
breakfast  we  will  hunt." 

Preparations  being  made  accordingly,  he  set  out  with  a  large  retinue. 
During  the  chase,  the  emperor  felt  such  extreme  oppression  from  the 
heat,  that  he  believed  his  very  existence  depended  upon  a  cold  bath.  As 
he  anxiously  looked  around,  he  discovered  a  sheet  of  water  at  no  great 
distance.  "Remain  here,"  said  he  to  his  guard,  "until  I  have  refreshed 
myself  in  yonder  stream."  Then  spurring  his  steed,  he  rode  hastily  to 
the  edge  of  ihe  water.  Alighting,  he  stripped  oif  his  clothes,  and  experi- 
enced the  greatest  pleasure  from  its  invigorating  freshness  and  coolness. 
But  whilst  he  was  thus  employed,  a  person  similar  to  him  in  every  re- 
spect— in  jpountenance  and  gesture — arrayed  himself  unperceived  in  the 
emperor's  dress,  and  then  mounting  his  horse,  rode  off  to  the  attendants. 
The  resemblance  to  the  sovereign  was  such  that  no  doubt  was  entertained 
of  the  reality;  and  straightway  command  was  issued  for  their  return  to 
the  palace. 

Jovinian,  however,  having  quitted  the  water,  sought  in  every  possible 
direction  for  his  horse  and  clothes,  and  to  his  utter  astonishment,  could 
find  neither.  Vexed  beyond  measure  at  the  circumstance  (for  he  was 
completely  naked,  and  saw  no  one  near  to  assist  him),  he  began  to  reflect 
upon  what  course  he  should  pursue.  "Miserable  man  that  I  am,"  said  he, 
"to  what  a  strait  am  I  reduced!  There  is,  I  remember,  a  knight  who  lives 
close  by;  I  will  go  to  him,  and  command  his  attendance  and  service.  I 
will  then  ride  on  to  the  palace  and  strictly  investigate  the  cause  of  this 
extraordinary  conduct.  Some  shall  smart  for  it." 

Jovinian  proceeded,  naked  and  ashamed,  to  the  castle  of  the  aforesaid 
knight,  and  beat  loudly  at  the  gate.  The  porter,  without  unclosing  the 
wicket,  inquired  the  cause  of  the  knocking.  "Open  the  gate,"  said  the 
enraged  emperor,  "and*you  will  see  who  I  am."  The  gate  was  opened; 
and  the  porter,  struck  with  the  strange  appearance  he  exhibited,  replied, 
"In  the  name  of  all  that  is  marvelous,  what  are  you?"  "I  am,"  said  he, 
"Jovinian,  your  emperor  j  go  to  your  lord,  and  command  him  from  me  to 
supply  the  wants  of  his  sovereign.  I  have  lost  both  horse  and  clothes." 

"Infamous  ribald!"  shouted  the  porter,  "just  before  thy  approach,  the 


128  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Emperor  Jovinian,  accompanied  by  the  officers  of  his  household,  entered 
the  palace.  My  lord  both  went  and  returned  with  him;  and  but  even  now 
sat  with  him  at  meat.  But  because  thou  hast  called  thyself  the  emperor, 
however  madly,  my  lord  shall  know  of  thy  presumption."  The  porter 
entered,  and  related  what  had  passed.  Jovinian  was  introduced,  but  the 
knight  retained  not  the  slightest  recollection  of  his  master,  although  the 
emperor  remembered  him.  "Who  are  you?"  said  the  knight,  "and  what 
is  your  name?"  "I  am  the  Emperor  Jovinian,"  rejoined  he;  "canst  thou 
have  forgotten  me?  At  such  a  time  I  promoted  thee  to  a  military  com- 
mand." "Why,  thou  most  audacious  scoundrel,"  said  the  knight,  "darest 
thou  call  thyself  the  emperor?  I  rode  with  him  myself  to  the  palace, 
from  whence  I  am  this  moment  returned.  But  thy  impudence  shall  not 
go  without  its  reward.  Flog  him,"  said  he,  turning  to  his  servants.  "Flog 
him  soundly,  and  drive  him  away." 

This  sentence  was  immediately  executed,  and  the  poor  emperor,  burst- 
ing into  a  convulsion  of  tears,  exclaimed,  "Oh,  my  God,  is  it  possible  that 
one  whom  I  have  so  much  honored  and  exalted  should  do  this?  Not  con- 
tent with  pretending  ignorance  of  my  person,  he  orders  these  merciless 
villains  to  abuse  me!  However,  it  will  not  be  long  unavenged.  There  is 
a  certain  duke,  one  of  my  privy  councilors,  to  whom  I  will  make  known 
my  calamity.  At  least,  he  will  enable  me  to  return  decently  to  the  palace." 
To  him,  therefore,  Jovinian  proceeded,  and  the  gate  was  ojjpned  at  his 
knock.  But  the  porter,  beholding  a  naked  man,  exclaimed  in  the  greatest 
amaze,  "Friend,  who  are  you,  and  why  come  you  here  in  such  a  guise?" 
He  replied,  "I  am  your  emporor;  I  have  accidentally  lost  my  clothes 
and  my  horse,  and  I  have  come  for  succor  to  your  lord.  Inform  the  duke, 
therefore,  that  I  have  business  with  him."  The  porter,  more  and  more 
astonished,  entered  the  hall,  and  told  of  the  man  outside.  "Bring  him  in," 
said  the  duke.  He  was  brought  in,  but  neither  did  he  recognize  the  per- 
son of  the  emperor.  "What  art  thou?"  was  again  asked,  and  answered 
as  before.  "Poor  mad  wretch,"  said  the  duke,  "a  short  time  since,  I 
returned  from  the  palace,  where  I  left  the  very  emperor  thou  assumcst 
to  be.  But  ignorant  whether  thou  art  more  fool  or  knave,  we  will  ad- 
minister such  remedy  as  may  suit  both.  Carry  him  to  prison,  and  feed 
him  with  bread  and  water."  The  command  was  no  sooner  delivered,  than 
obeyed;  and  the  following  day  his  naked  body  was  submitted  to  the  lash, 
and  again  cast  into  the  dungeon. 

Thus  afflicted,  he  gave  himself  up  to  the  wretchedness  of  his  un- 
toward condition.  In  the  agony  of  his  heart,  he  said:  "What  shall  I  do? 
Oh!  what  will  be  my  destiny?  I  am  loaded  with  the  coarsest  contumely, 
and  exposed  to  the  malicious  observation  of  my  people.  It  were  better  to 
hasten  immediately  to  my  palace,  and  there  discover  myself — my  wife 
will  know  me;  surely,  my  wife  will  know  me!"  Escaping,  therefore, 
from  his  confinement,  he  approached  the  palace  and  beat  upon  the  gate. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— ANONYMOUS  129 

The  same  questions  were  repeated,  and  the  same  answers  returned.  "Who 
art  thou?"  said  the  porter.  "It  is  strange,"  replied  the  aggrieved  emperor, 
"it,  is  strange  that  thou  shouldst  not  know  me;  thou,  who  hast  served  me 
so  long!"  "Served  thee!"  returned  the  porter  indignantly;  "thou  liest 
abominably.  I  have  served  none  but  the  emperor."  "Why,"  said  the  other, 
"thou  knowest  that  I  am  he.  Yet,  though  you  disregard  my  words,  go, 
I  implore  you,  to  the  empress;  communicate  what  I  will  tell  thee,  and  by 
these  signs,  bid  her  send  the  imperial  robes,  of  which  some  rogue  has 
deprived  me.  The  signs  I  tell  thee  of  are  known  to  none  but  to  ourselves." 
"In  verity,"  said  the  porter,  "thou  art  specially  mad;  at  this  very  moment 
my  lord  sits  at  table  with  the  empress  herself.  Nevertheless,  out  of  re- 
gard for  thy  singular  merits,  I  will  intimate  thy  declaration  within;  and 
rest  assured  thou  wilt  presently  find  thyself  most  royally  beaten."  The 
porter  went  accordingly,  and  related  what  he  had  heard.  But  the  em- 
press became  very  sorrowful,  and  said:  "Oh,  my  lord,  what  am  I  to 
think?  The  most  hidden  passages  of  our  lives  are  revealed  by  an  obscene 
fellow  at  the  gate,  and  repeated  to  me  by  the  porter,  on  the  strength 
of  which  he  declares  himself  the  emperor,  and  my  espoused  lord!**  When 
the  fictitious  'monarch  was  apprised  of  this,  he  commanded  him  to  be 
brought  in.  He  had  no  sooner  entered,  than  a  large  dog,  which  crouched 
upon  the  hearth,  and  had  been  much  cherished  by  him,  flew  at  his  throat, 
and,  but  fj»r  timely  prevention,  would  have  killed  him.  A  falcon  also, 
seated  upon  her  perch,  no  sooner  beheld  him  than  she  broke  her  jesses  and 
flew  out  of  the  hall.  Then  the  pretended  emperor,  addressing  those  who 
stood  about  him,  said:  "My  friends,  hear  what  I  will  ask  of  yon  ribald. 
Who  are  you?  and  what  do  you  want?"  "These  questions,"  said  the 
suffering  man,  "are  very  strange.  You  know  I  am  the  emperor  and  master 
of  this  place."  The  other,  turning  to  the  nobles  who  sat  or  stood  at  the 
table,  continued:  "Tell  me,  on  your  allegiance,  which  of  us  two  is  your 
lord  and  master?"  "Your  majesty  asks  us  an  easy  thing,"  replied  they, 
"and  need  not  to  remind  us  of  our  allegiance.  That  obscene  wretch 
cannot  be  our  sovereign.  You  alone  are  he,  whom  we  have  known  from 
childhood;  and  we  intreat  that  this  fellow  may  be  severely  punished  as 
a  warning  to  others  how  they  give  scope  to  their  mad  presumption."  Then 
turning  to  the  empress,  the  usurper  said:  "Tell  me,  my  lady,  on  the 
faith  you  have  sworn,  do  you  know  this  man  who  calls  himself  thy  lord 
and  emperor?"  She  answered:  "My  lord,  how  can  you  ask  such  a  question? 
Have  I  not  known  thee  more  than  thirty  years,  and  borne  thee  many  chil- 
dren? Yet,  at  one  thing  I  do  admire.  How  can  this  fellow  have  acquired 
so  intimate  a  knowledge  of  what  has  passed  between  us?" 

The  pretended  emperor  made  no  reply,  but  addressing  the  real  one, 
said:  "Friend,  how  darest  thou  to  call  thyself  emperor?  We  sentence 
thee,  for  this  unexampled  impudence,  to  be  drawn,  without  loss  of  time, 
at  the  tail  of  a  horse.  And  if  thou  utterest  the  same  words  again,  thou 


130  •  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

shalt  be  doomed  to  an  ignominious  death?*  He  then  commanded  his  guards 
to  see  the  sentence  put  in  force,  but  to  preserve  his  life.  The  unfortunate 
emperor  was  now  almost  distracted;  and  urged  by  his  despair,  wished 
vehemently  for  death.  "Why  was  I  born?"  he  exclaimed.  "My  friefcds 
shun  me,  and  my  wife  and  children  will  not  acknowledge  me.  But  there 
is  my  confessor,  still.  To  him  will  I  go;  perhaps  he  will  recollect  me, 
because  he  has  often  received  my  confessions."  He  went  accordingly,  and 
knocked  at  the  window  of  his  cell.  "Who  is 'there?"  said  the  confessor. 
"The  Emperor  Jovinian,"  was  the  reply;  "open  the  window  and  I  will 
speak  to  thee."  ,The  window  was  opened;  but  no  sooner  had  he  looked 
out  than  he  closed  it  again  in  great  haste.  "Depart  from  me,"  said  he, 
"accursed  thing:  thou  art  not  the  emperor,  but  the  devil  incarnate."  This 
completed  the  miseries  of  the  persecuted  man;  and  he  tore  his  hair,  and 
plucked  up  his  beard  by  the  roots.  "Woe  is  me,"  he  cried,  "for  what 
strange  doom  am  I  reserved?"  At  this  crisis,  the  impious  words  which, 
in  th.e  arrogance  of  his  heart,  he*  had  uttered  crossed  his  recollection. 
Immediately  he  beat  again  at  the  window  of  the  confessor's  cell,  and  ex- 
claimed: "For  the  love  of  Him  who  was  suspended  from  the  cross,  hear 
my  confession."  The  recluse  opened  the  window,  and  said,  "I  will  do 
this  with  pleasure";  and  then  Jovinian  acquainted  him  with  every  par- 
ticular of  his  past  life;  and  principally  how  he  had  lifted  himself  up 
against  his  Matter. 

The  confession  made,  and  absolution  given,  the  recluse  loflked  out  of 
his  window,  and  directly  knew  him.  "Blessed  be  the  most  high  God," 
said  he,  "now  I  do  know  thee.  I  have  here  a  few  garments:  clothe  thyself, 
and  go  to  the  palace.  I  trust  that  they  also  will  recognize  thee."  The  em- 
peror did  as  the  confessor  directed.  The  porter  opened  the  gate,  and 
made  a  low  obeisance  to  him.  "Dost  thou  know  me?"  said  he.  "Very  well, 
my  lord!"  replied  the  menial;  "but  I  marvel  that  I  did  not  observe  you 
go  dut."  Entering  the  hall  of  his  mansion,  Jovinian*  was  received  by  all 
with  a  profound  reverence.  The  strange  emperor  was  at  that  time  in 
another  apartment  with  the  queen;  and  a  certain  knight  going  to  him, 
said,  "My  lord,  there  is  one  in  the  hall  to  whom  everybody  bends;  he 
so  much  resembles  you,  that  we  know  not  which  is  the  emperor."  Hearing 
this,  the  usurper  said  to  the  empress,  "Go  and  see  if  you  know  him." 
She  went,  and  returned  greatly  surprised  at  what  she  saw.  "Oh,  my  lord," 
said  she,  "I  declare  to  you  that  I  know  not  whom  to  trust."_"Then," 
returned  he,  "I  will  go  and  determine  you."  And  taking  her  hand  he 
led  her  into  the  hall  and  placed  her  on  the  throne  beside  him.  Addressing 
the  assembly,  he  said,  "By  the  oaths  you  have  taken,  declare  which  of 
us  is  your  emperor."  The  empress  answered:  "It  is  incumbent  on  me  to 
speak  first;  but  heaven  is  my  witness,  that  I  am  unable  to  determine  which 
is  he."  And  so  said  all.  Then  the  feigned  emperor  spoke  thus:  "My 
friends,  hearken!  That  man  is  your  king  and  ydur  lord.  He  exalted  him- 


GREAT  BRITAIN— ANONYMOUS  131 

self  to  the  disparagement  of  his  Maker;  and  God,  therefore,  scourged 
and  hid  him  from  your  knowledge.  But  his  repentance  removes  the  rod; 
he  has  now  made  ample  satisfaction,  and  again  let  your  obedience  wait 
updh  him.  Commend  yourselves  to  the  protection  of  heaven/'  So  saying, 
he  disappeared.  The  emperor  gave  thanks  to  God,  and  surrendering  to 
Him  all  his  soul,  lived  happily  and  finished  his  days  in  peace. 


LLUDD  AND  LLEVELYS 

(Anonymous:  Some  Time  Before  I4th  Century) 

NOT  only  is  nothing  known  of  the  author  of  this  story,  but  it  is 
hardly  possible  to  make  a  good  guess  within  several  centuries  of  the 
date  of  its  composition.  The  Mabinogion,  from  which  it  is  taken,  is 
the  title  given  to  a  collection  of  translations  made  from  the  Welsh 
by  Lady  Charlotte  Guest  some  eighty  years  ago,  in  which  she  in- 
cluded twelve  old  Welsh  romances.  The  literature  of  early  Wales 
was  extremely  rich;  from  it  sprang  a  host  of  stories,  of  which  the 
most  important  were  those  treating  of  King  Arthur  and  his  court. 
In  the  words  of  Lady  Guest,  Welsh  literature  has  "strong  claims 
to  be  considered  the  cradle  of  European  romance." 

The*present  tale,  translated  by  Lady  Guest,  is  reprinted  from 
The  MMnogion,  Everyman's  Library,  by  permission  of  the  pub- 
lisher, J.  M*  Dent  and  Sons. 


LLUDD  AND  LLEVELYS 
(From  The  Mabmogion) 

BELI  the  great,  the  son  of  Manogan,  had  three  sons,  Lludd  and 
Caswallawn,  and  Nynyaw;  and  according  to  the  story  he  had  a 
fourth  son  called  Llevelys.  And  after  the  death  of  Beli,  the  kingdom  of 
the  Island  of  Britain  fell  into  the  hands  of  Lludd,  his  eldest  son;  and 
Lludd  ruled  prosperously,  and  rebuilt  the  walls  of  London,  and  encom- 
passed it  about  with  numberless  towers.  And  after  that  he  bade  the  citi- 
zens build  houses  therein,  such  as  no  houses  in  the  kingdoms  could  equal. 
And  moreover  he  was  a  mighty  warrior,  and  generous  and  liberal  in 
giving  meat  and  drink  to  all  that  sought  them.  And  though  he  had  many 
castles  and  cities  this  one  loved  he  more  than  any*  And  he  dwelt  therein 
most  part  of  the  year,  and  therefore  was  it  called  Caer  Lludd,  and  at 
last  Caer  London.  And  after  the  stranger-race  came,  there,  it  was 
London,  or  Lwndrys. 


132  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Lludd  loved  Llevelys  best  of  all  his  brothers,  because  he  was  a  wise  and 
discreet  man.  Having  heard  that  the  king  of  France  had  died,  leaving  no 
heir  except  a  daughter,  and  that  he  had  left  all  his  possessions  in  her 
hands,  he  came  to  Lludd  his  brother,  to  beseech  his  counsel  and  aid.  And 
that  not  so  much  for  his  own  welfare,  as  to  seek  to  add  to  the  glory 
and  honor  and  dignity  of  his  kindred,  if  he  might  go  to  France  to  woo 
the  maiden  for  his  wife.  And  forthwith  his  brother  conferred  with  him, 
and  this  counsel  was  pleasing  unto  him. 

So  he  prepared  ships  and  filled  them  with  armed  knights,  and  set  forth 
towards  France.  And  as  soon  as  they  had  landed,  they  sent  messengers 
to  show  the  nobles  of  France  the  cause  of  the  embassy.  And  by  the  joint 
counsel  of  the  nobles  of  France  and  of  the  princes,  the  maiden  was  given 
to  Llevelys,  and  the  crown  of  the  kingdom  with  her.  And  thenceforth 
he  ruled  the  land  discreetly,  and  wisely,  and  happily,  as  long  as  his  life 
lasted. 

After  a  space  of  time  had  passed,  three  plagues  fell  on  the  Island  of 
Britain,  such  as  none  in  the  islands  had  ever  seen  the  like  of.  The  first 
was  a  certain  race  that  came,  and  was  called  the  Coranians;  and  so  great 
was  their  knowledge,  that  there  was  no  discourse  upon  the  face  of  the 
Island,  however  low  it  might  be  spoken,  but  what,  if  the  wind  met  it, 
it  was  known  to  them.  And  through  this  they  could  not  be  injured. 

The  second  plague  was  a  shriek  which  came  on  every  May-eve,  over 
every  hearth  in  the  Island  of  Britain.  And  this  went  thnfcigh  people's 
hearts,  and  so  scared  them  that  the  men  lost  their  hue  and  their  strength, 
and  the  women  their  children,  and  the  young  men  and  the  maidens  lost 
their  senses,  and  all  the  animals  and 'trees  and  the  earth  and  the  waters 
were  left  barren. 

The  third  plague  was,  that  however  much  of  provisions  and  food  might 
be  prepared  in  the  king's  courts,  were  there  even  so  much  as  a  year's 
provision  of  meat  and  drink,  none  of  it  could  ever  be  found,  except  what 
was  consumed  in  the  first  night.  And  two  of  these  plagues,  no  one  ever 
knew  their  cause,  therefore  was  there  better  hope  of  being  freed  from 
the  first  than  from  the  second  and  third. 

.  And  thereupon  King  Lludd  felt  great  sorrow  and  care,  because  that 
he  knew  not  how  he  might  be  freed  from  these  plagues.  And  he  called 
to  him  all  the  nobles  of  his  kingdom,  and  asked  counsel  of  them  what 
they  should  do  against  these  afflictions.  And  by  the  common  counsel  of 
the  nobles,  Lludd  the  son  of  Beli  went  to  Llevelys  his  brother,  king  of 
France,  for  he  was  a  man  great  of  counsel  and  wisdom,  to  seek  his  advice. 

And  they  made  ready  a  fleet,  and  that  in  secret  and  in  silence,  lest 
that  race  should  know  the  cause  of  their  errand,  or  any  besides  the  king 
and  his  counselors.  And  when  they  were  made  ready,  they  went  into  their 
ships,  Lludd  and  those  whom  he  chose  with  him.  And  they  began  to 
cleave  the  seas  towards  France, 


GREAT  BRITAIN— ANONYMOUS  133 

And  when  these  tidings  came  to  Llevelys,  seeing  that  he  knew  not 
the  cause  of  his  brother's  ships,  he  came  on  the  other  side  to  meet  him, 
and  with  him  was  a  fleet  vast  of  size.  And  when  Lludd  saw  this,  he  left 
all  the  ships  out  upon  the  sea  except  one  only;  and  in  that  one  he  came 
to  meet  his  brother,  and  he  likewise  with  a  single  ship  came  to  meet 
him.  And  when  they  were  come  together,  each  put  his  arms  about  the 
other's  neck,  and  they  welcomed  each  other  with  brotherly  love. 

After  that  Lludd  had  shown  his  brother  the  cause  of  his  errand, 
Llevelys  said  that  he  himself  knew  the  cause  of  the  coming  to  those 
lands.  And  they  took  counsel  together  to  discourse  on  the  matter  other- 
wise than  thus,  in  order  that  the  wind  might  not  catch  their  words,  nor 
the  Coranians  know  what  they  might  say.  Then  Llevelys  caused  a  long 
horn  to  be  made  of  brass,  and  through  this  horn  they  discoursed.  But 
whatsoever  words  they  spoke  through  this  horn,  one  to  the  other,  neither 
of  them  could  hear  any  other  but  harsh  and  hostile  words.  And  when 
Llevelys  saw  this,  and  that  there  was  a  demon  thwarting  them  and 
disturbing  through  this  horn,  he  caused  wine  to  be  put  therein  to  wash  it. 
And  through  the  virtue  of  the  wine  the  demon  was  driven  out  of  the  horn. 
And  when  iheir  discourse  was  unobstructed,  Llevelys  told  his  brother 
that  he  would  give  him  some  insects  whereof  he  should  keep  some  to 
breed,  lest  by  chance  the  like  affliction  might  come  a  second  time.  And 
other  of  these  insects  he  should  take  and  bruise  in  water.  And  he  assured 
him  that  it  would  have  power  to  destroy  the  race  of  the  Coranians.  That 
is  to  say,  that  when  he  came  home  to  his  kingdom  he  should  call  together 
all  the  people  both  of  his  own  race  and  of  the  race  of  the  Coranians 
for  a  conference,  as  though  with  the  intent  of  making  peace  between 
them;  and  that  when  they  were  all  together,  he  should  take  this 
charmed  water,  and  cast  it  over  all  alike.  And  he  assured  him  that 
the  water  would  poison  the  race  of  the  Coranians,  but  that  it  would  not 
slay  or  harm  those  of  his  own  race. 

"And  the  second  plague,"  said  he,  "that  is  in  thy  dominion,  behold 
it  is  a  dragon.  And  another  dragon  of  a  foreign  race  is  fighting  with  it, 
and  striving  to  overcome  it.  And  therefore  does  your  dragon  make  a 
fearful  outcry.  And  on  this  wise  mayest  thou  come  to  know  this.  After 
thou  hast  returned  home,  cause  the  Island  to  be  measured  in  its  length 
and  breadth,  and  in  the  place  where  thou  dost  find  the  exact  central  point, 
there  cause  a  pit  to  be  dug,  and  cause  a  cauldron  full  of  the  best  mead 
that  can  be  made  to  be  put  in  the  pit,  with  a  covering  of  satin  over  the 
face  of  the  cauldron.  And  then,  in  thine  own  person  do  thou  remain  there 
watching,  and  thou  wilt  see  the  dragon  fighting  in  the  form  of  terrific 
animals.  And  at  length  they  will  take  the  form  of  dragons  in  the  air. 
And  last  of  all,  after  wearying  themselves  with  fierce  and  furious  fight- 
ing, they  will  fall  in  the  form  of  two  pigs  upon  the  covering,  and  they 
will  sink  in,  and  the  covering  with  them,  and  they,  will  draw  it  down  to 


134  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

the  very  bottom  of  the  cauldron.  And  they  will  drink  up  the  whole  of 
the  mead;  and  after  that  they  will  sleep.  Thereupon  do  thou  immediately 
fold  the  covering  around  them,  and  bury  them  in  a  kistvaen,  in  the 
strongest  place  thou  hast  in  thy  dominions,  and  hide  them  in  the  earth. 
And  as  long  as  they  shall  bide  in  that  strong  place  no  plague  shall  come 
to  the  Island  of  Britain  from  elsewhere. 

.  "The  cause  of  the  third  plague,"  said  he,  "is  a  mighty  man  of  magic, 
who  takes  thy  meat  and  thy  drink  and  thy  store.  And  he  through  illusions 
and  charms  causes  every  one  to  sleep.  Therefore  it  is  needful  for  thee  in 
thy  own  person  to  watch  thy  food  and  thy  provisions.  And  lest  he  should 
overcome  thee  with  sleep,  be  there  a  cauldron  of  cold  water  by  thy  side, 
and  when  thou  art  oppressed  with  sleep,  plunge  into  the  cauldron." 

Then  Lludd  returned  back  unto  his  land.  And  immediately  he  sum- 
moned to  him  the  whole  of  his  own  race  and  of  the  Coranians.  And  as 
Llevelys  had  taught  him,  he  bruised  the  insects  in  water,  the  which  he 
cast  over  them  all  together,  and  forthwith  it  destroyed  the  whole  tribe 
of  the  Coranians,  without  hurt  to  any  of  the  Britons. 

And  some  time  after  this,  Lludd  caused  the  Island  to  be  measured 
in  its  length  and  in  its  breadth.  And  in  Oxford  he  found  the  central 
point,  and  in  that  place  he  caused  the  earth  to  be  dug,  and  in  that  pit 
a  cauldron  to  be  set,  full  of  the  best  mead  that  could  be  made,  and  a 
covering  of  satin  over  the  face  of  it.  And  he  himself  watched  that 
night.  And  while  he  was  there,  he  beheld  the  dragons  figjhting.  And 
when  they  were  weary  they  fell,  and  came  down  upon  the  top  of  the  satin, 
and  drew  it  with  them  to  the  bottom  of  the  cauldron.  And  when  they  had 
drunk  the  mead  they  slept.  And  in  their  sleep,  Lludd  folded  the  covering 
around  them,  and  in  the  securest  place  he  had  in  Snowdon,  he  hid 
them  in  a  kistvaen.  Now  after  that  this  spot  was  called  Dinas  Emreis, 
but  before  that,  Dinas  Ffaraon.  And  thus  the  fierce  outcry  ceased  in  his 
dominions. 

And  when  this  was  ended,  King  Lludd  caused  an  exceeding  great  ban- 
quet to  be  prepared.  And  when  it  was  ready,  he  placed  a  vessel  of  cold 
water  by  his  side,  and  he  in  his  own  proper  person  watched  it.  And  as 
he  abode  thus  clad  with  arms,  about  the  third  watch  of  the  night,  lo, 
he  heard  many  surpassing  fascinations  and  various  songs.  And  drowsiness 
urged  him  to  sleep.  Upon  this,  lest  he  should  be  hindered  from  his  pur- 
pose and  be  overcome  by  sleep,  he  went  often  into  the  water.  And  at 
last,  behold,  a  man  of  vast  size,  clad  in  strong,  heavy  armor,  came  in, 
bearing  a  hamper.  And,  as  he  was  wont,  he  put  all  the  food  and  pro- 
visions of,  meat  and  drink  into  the  hamper,  and  proceeded  to  go  with 
it  forth.  And  nothing  was  ever  more  wonderful  to  Lludd,  than  that  the 
hamper  should  hold  so  much.  v 

And  thereupon  King  Lludd  went  after  him  and  spoke  unto  him  thus. 
"Stop,  stop,"  said  he,  "though  thou  hast  done  many  insults  and  much 


GREAT  BRITAIN— ANONYMOUS  135 

spoil  erewhile,  them  shalt  not  do  so  any  more,  unless  thy  skill  in  arms 
and  thy  prowess  be  greater  than  mine." 

.Then  he  instantly  put  down  the  hamper  on  the  floor,  and  awaited  him. 
And  a  fierce  encounter  was  between  them,  so  that  the  glittering  fire  flew 
out  from  their  arms.  And  at  last  Lludd  grappled  with  him,  and  fate  be- 
stowed the  victory  on  Lludd.  And  he  threw  the  plague  to  the  earth.  And 
after  he  had  overcome  him  by  strength  and  might,  he  besought  his  mercy. 
"How  can  I  grant  thee  mercy,"  said  the  king,  "after  all  the  many  in- 
juries and  wrongs  that  thou  hast  done  me?"  "All  the  losses  that  ever  I 
have  caused  thee,"  said  he,  "I  will  make  thee  atonement  for  equal  to 
what  I  have  taken.  And  I  will  never  do  the  like  from  this  time  forth. 
But  thy  faithful  vassal  will  I  be."  And  the  king  accepted  this  from  him. 

And  thus  Lludd  freed  the  Island  of  Britain  from  the  three  plagues. 
And  from  thenceforth  until  the  end  of  his  life,  in  prosperous  peace  did 
Lludd  the  son  of  Beli  rule  the  Island  of  Britain.  And  this  Tale  is  called 
the  Story  of  Lludd  and  Llevelys.  And  thus  it  ends. 


'       SIR  THOMAS  MALORY 

(Flourished  Late  I5th  Century) 

PRACTICALLY  nothing  is  known  of  this  first  great  writer  of  Eng- 
lish prose  romance.  Malory's  significance  in  the  development  of 
the  English  language  is,  for  our  purposes,  not  so  vital  a  matter  as 
his  contribution  to  the  art  of  story-telling.  His  vast  compilation, 
which  is  a  rewritten  version  of  the  outstanding  episodes  in  the 
Arthurian  cycle,  was  printed  by  Caxton  in  1485,  and,  due  to  the 
rapid  spread  of  books  through  the  recently  invented  printing-press, 
Malory's  influence  was  far  greater  than  it  would  otherwise  have 
been.  "Malory,"  says  Edmund  Gosse,  "tinges  the  whole  English 
character;  he  is  the  primal  fount  of  our  passion  for  adventure,  and 
of  our  love  for  active  chivalry." 

The  present  version  is  reprinted  from  Malorfs  History  of  King 
Arthur  and  the  Quest  of  the  Holy  Grail,  London,  1 886<  There 
is  no  title  in  the  original  text. 


LAUNCELOT'S  TOURNEY 
(From  the  Morte  a? Arthur) 

ND  then  the  Queen  let  make  a  privy  dinner  in  the  city  of  London, 
unto  the  knights  of  the  Round  Table;  and  all  was  to  show  out- 
ward that  she  had  a  great  joy  in  all  other  knights  of  the  Round  Table, 


136  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

as  she  had  in  Sir  Launcelot.  All  only  at  that  dinner  she  had  Sir  Gawaine 
and  his  brethren;  that  is  to  say,  Sir  Agravaine,  Sir  Gaheris,  Sir  Gareth, 
and  Sir  Mordred.  Also  there  was  Sir  Bors  de  Ganis,  Sir  Blamor  de  Ganis, 
Sir  Bleoberis  de  Ganis,  Sir  Galihud,  Sir  Galihodin,  Sir  Ector  de  Man's, 
Sir  Lionel,  Sir  Palomides,  and  his  brother,  Sir  Safre;  la  Cote  mal  Tail, 
Sir  Persuant,  Sir  Ironside,  Sir  Brandiles,  Sir  Kaye  the  seneschal,  Sir 
Mador  de  la  Port,  Sir  Patrice  a  knight  of  Ireland,  Sir  Aliducke,  Sir 
Astomore,  and  Sir  Pinell  le  Savage,  the  which  was  cousin  unto  Sir  La- 
moracke  de  Galis,  the  good  knight,  the  which  Sir  Gawaine  and  brethren 
slew  by  treason.  And  so  these  knights  should  dine  with  the  Queen  in 
a  privy  place  by  themselves;  and  there  was  made  a  great  feast  of  all 
manner  of  dainty  meats  and  drinks.  But  Sir  Gawaine  had  a  custom 
that  he  used  daily  at  dinner  and  at  supper,  that  he  loved  well  all  manner 
of  fruits,  and  in  especial  apples  and  pears;   and,  therefore,  whosoever 
dined  or  feasted,  Sir  Gawaine  would  commonly  purvey  for  good  fruit 
for  him:  and  so  did  the  Queen;  for,  to  please  Sir  Gawaine,  she  let  purvey 
for  him  of  all  manner  of  fruits.  For  Sir  Gawaine  was  a  passing  hot 
knight  of  nature;  and  this  Sir  Pinell  hated  Sir  Gawaine,.,  because  of  his 
kinsman,  Sir  Lamoracke  de  Galis:  and,  therefore,  for  pure  envy  and 
hate,  Sir  Pinell  poisoned  certain  apples  for  to  poison  Sir  Gawaine  withal. 
And  so  this  was  well  unto  the  end  of  the  meat;  and  so  it  befell,  by  mis- 
fortune, that  a  good  knight,  named  Sir  Patrice,  cousin  untoJSir  Mador 
de  la  Port,  took  one  of  the  poisoned  apples:  and,  when  he  had  eaten  it,  he 
swelled  till  he  burst;  and  there  Sir  Patrice  fell  down  dead  suddenly 
among  them.  Then  every  knight  leaped  from  the  board,  ashamed,  and 
enraged  for  wrath  nigh  out  of  their  wits;  for  they  wist  not  what  to  say, 
considering  that  Queen  Guenever  made  the  feast  and  dinner,  they  all 
had  suspicion  upon  her.  "My  lady,  the  Queen,"  said  Sir  Gawaine,  "wit 
ye  well,  madam,  that  this  dinner  was  made  for  me:  for  all  folks,  that 
know  my  conditions,  understand  well  that  I  love  fruit;   and  now  I 
see  well  I  had  been  near  slain:  therefore,  madam,  I  dread  me  least  ye 
will  be  shamed."  Then  the  Queen  stood  still,  and  was  right  sore  abashed, 
that  she  wist  not  what  to  say.  "This  shall  not  be  ended  so,"  said  Sir  Mador 
de  la  Port;  "for  here  have  I  lost  a  full  noble  knight  of  my  blood: 
and,  therefore,  upon  this  shame  and  despite  I  will  be  revenged  to  the  ut- 
termost." And  thereupon  Sir  Mador  appealed  Queen  Guenever  of  the 
death  of  his  cousin,  Sir  Patrice.  Then  stood  they  all  still,  that  none  of 
them  would  speak  a  word  against  him;  for  they  had  a  great  suspcction 
unto  Queen  Guenever,  because  she  let  make  the  dinner.  And  the  Queen 
was  so  sore  abashed,  that  she  could  none  otherwise  do,  but  wept  so 
heartily,  that  she  fell  in  a  swoon.  With  this  noise  and  sudden  cry  came 
iinto  them  King  Arthur,  and  marveled  greatly  what  it  might  be;  and, 
when  he  wist  of  their  trouble,  and  the  suddeg  death  of  that  good  knight, 
Sir  Patrice,  he  was;  a  passing  heavy  man. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— MALORY  137 

And  ever  Sir  Mador  stood  still  before  King  Arthur,  and  ever  he 
appealed  Queen  Guenever  of  treason.  For  the  custom  was  such  at  that 
time,  that  all  manner  of  shameful  death  was  called  treason:  "Fair  lords," 
said  King  Arthur,  "me  repenteth  sore  of  this  trouble,  but  the  cause  is 
so,  we  may  not  have  to  do  in  this  matter;  for  I  must  be  a  rightful  judge, 
and  that  repenteth  me  that  I  may  not  do  battle  for  my  wife;  for,  as 
I  deem,  this  deed  came  never  of  her,  and  therefore  I  suppose  we  shall 
not  be  all  destitute,  but  that  some  good  knight  shall  put  his  body  in 
jeopardy,  rather  than  she  should  be  burnt  in  a  wrong  quarrel.  And, 
therefore,  Sir  Mador,  be  not  so  hasty;  for  it  may  happen  she  shall  not 
be  all  friendless:  and,  therefore,  desire  thou  the  day  of  battle,  and  she 
shall  purvey  her  of  some  good  knight,  which  shall  answer  you,  or  else 
it  were  to  me  great  shame,  and  unto  all  my  court."  "My  gracious  lord/* 
said  Sir  Mador,  "ye  must  hold  me  excused:  for,  though  ye  be  our  King 
in  that  degree,  ye  are  but  a  knight  as  we  are,  and  ye  are  sworn  unto 
knighthood  as  we  are:  and,  therefore,  I  pray  you,  that  ye  will  not  be 
displeased;  for  there  is  none  of  the  twenty  knights  that  were  bidden  for 
to  come  unto  this  dinner,  but  all  they  have  great  suspection  unto  the 
Queen.  Whit  say  ye  all,  my  lords?"  said  Sir  Mador.  Then  they  answered 
by  and  by,  and  said,  that  they  "could  not  excuse  the  Queen;  for  why  she 
made  the  dinner:  and  either  it  must  come  by  her,  or  by  her  servants." 
"Alas!"  said  the  Queen,  "I  made  this  dinner  for  a  good  intent,  and  never 
for  any  evil  (so  God  help  me  in  my  right!)  as  I  was  never  purposed  to 
do  such  evil  deeds,  and  that  I  report  me  unto  God."  "My  lord,  the  King," 
said  Sir  Mador,  "I  require  you  heartily,  as  ye  be  a  righteous  king,  give 
me  a  day  that  I  may  have  justice."  "Well,"  said  King  Arthur,  "I  give 
you  a  day  this  day  fifteen  days,  that  ye  be  ready  armed  on  horseback  in 
the  meadow  beside  Westminster;  and,  if  it  so  fall  that  there  be  any 
knight  to  encounter  with  you,  there  may  ye  do  your  best,  and  God  speed 
the  right:  and,  if  it  so  fall  that  there  be  no  knight  at  that  day,  then  must 
my  Queen  be  burnt,  and  there  shall  ye  be  ready  to  have  her  judgment." 
"Well  I  am  answered,"  said  Sir  Mador;  and  every  knight  went  where 
it  liked  him.  So,  when  the  King  and  the  Queen  were  together,  the  King 
asked  the  Queen  how  this  case  befell.  Then  answered  the  Queen,  "So 
God  me  help,  I  wot  not  how,  or  in  what  manner."  "Where  is  Sir  Launce- 
lot?"  said  King  Arthur.  "An  he  were  here,  he  would  not  grudge  to  do 
battle  for  you."  "Sir,"  said  the  Queen,  "I  cannot  tell  you  where  he  is; 
but  his  brother,  and  all  his  kinsmen,  deem  that  he  is  not  within  this  realm." 
"That  sore  repenteth  me,"  said  King  Arthur;  "for  an  he  were  here, 
he  would  full  soon  stint  this  strife.  Then  I  will  counsel  you,"  said  the 
King,  "that  ye  go  unto  Sir  Bors,  and  pray  him  to  do  that  battle  for  you 
for  Sir  Launcelot's  sake:  and,  upon  my  life,  he  will  not  refuse  you.  For 
right  well  I  perceive,"  said  King  Arthur,  "that  none  of  all  those  twenty 
knights,  without  more,  that  were  with  you  in  fellowship  together  at  your 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

dinner,  where  Sir  Patrice  was  so  traitorously  slain,  that  will  do  battle 
for  you,  nor  none  of  them  will  say  well  of  you;  and  that  shall  be  great 
slander  for  you  in  this  court."  "Alas!"  said  the  Queen,  "I  cannot  do 
withal:  but  now  I  miss  Sir  Launcelot;  for,  an  he  were  here,  he  would 
put  me  full  soon  unto  my  heart's  ease."  "What  aileth  you,"  said  King 
Arthur,  "that  ye  cannot  keep  Sir  Launcelot  on  your  side?  For  wit  ye 
well/1  said  King  Arthur,  "whosoever  hath  the  noble  knight,  Sir  Launce- 
lot, on  his  part,  hath  the  most  man  of  worship  in  the  world  on  his  side. 
Now,  go  your  way,"  said  the  King  unto  the  Queen,  "and  require  Sir 
Bors  to  do  battle  for  you  for  Sir  Launcelot's  sake."  ' 

So  the  Queen  departed  from  the  King,  and  sent  for  Sir  Bors  into  her 
chamber;  and  when  he  was  come,  she  besought  him  of  succor.  "Madam," 
said  he,  "what  would  ye  that  I  do?  for  I  may  not  with  my  worship  have 
to  do  in  this  matter,  because  I  was  at  the  same  dinner,  for  dread  that 
any  of  those  knights  would  have  me  in  suspection.  Also,  madam,"  said 
Sir  Bors,  "now  miss  ye  Sir  Launcelot;  for  he  would  not  have  failed  you, 
neither  in  right,  nor  yet  in  wrong,  as  ye  have  well  proved  when  ye  have 
been  in  danger;  and  now  have  ye  driven  him  out  of  this  country,  by 
whom  ye  and  we  all  were  daily  worshiped.  Therefore,  madam,  I  greatly 
marvel  me  how  ye  dare  for  shame  require  me  to  do  any  thing  for  you, 
insomuch  as  ye  have  chased  him  out  of  your  country,  by  whom  I  was 
borne  up  and  honored."  "Alas!  fair  knight,"  said  the  Queen,  ^1  put  me 
wholly  in  your  grace;  and  all  that  is  done  amiss  I  will  amend,  as  ye  will 
counsel  me."  And  therewith  she  kneeled  down  upon  both  her  knees,  and 
besought  Sir  Bors  to  have  mercy  upon  her,  "for  I  shall  have  a  shameful 
death,  and  theretd  I  never  offended."  Right  so  came  King  Arthur,  and 
found  the  Queen  kneeling  before  Sir  Bors.  Then  Sir  Bors  took  her  up, 
and  said,  "Madam,  ye  do  to  me  great  dishonor."  "Ah!  gentle  knight," 
said  King  Arthur,  "have  mercy  upon  my  Queen,  for  I  am  now  in  a  cer- 
tain that  she  is  now  untruly  defamed;  and,  therefore,  courteous  knight," 
said  the  King,  "promise  her  to  do  battle  for  her:  I  require  you  for  the  love 
of  Sir  Launcelot."  "My  lord,"  said  Sir  Bors,  "ye  require  me  of  the 
greatest  thing  that  any  man  may  require  me;  and  wit  ye  well  if  I  grant 
to  do  battle  for  the  Queen,  I  shall  wrath  many  of  my  fellowship  of  the 
Round  Table;  but,  as  for  that,"  said  Sir  Bors,  "I  will  grant  my  lord, 
for  my  lord  Sir  Launcelot's  sake,  and  for  your  sake,  I  will  at  that  day  be 
the  Queen's  champion,  unless  that  there  come  by  adventure  a  better  knight 
than  I  am  to  do  battle  for  her."  "Will  ye  promise  this,"  said  the  King, 
"by  your  faith?"  "Yes,  sir,"  said  Sir  Bors,  "of  that  will  I  not  fail  you, 
nor  her  both:  but  if  that  there  come  a  better  knight  than  I  am,  then  shall 
he  have  die  battle."  Then  were  the  King  and  the  Queen  passing  glad, 
thanked  him  heartily,  and  so  departed. 

So  then  Sir  Bors  departed  secretly  upon  a  day,  and  rode  unto  Sir 
Launcelot  there  as  he  was  with  the  hermit  by  Sir  Brastias,  and  told  him  of 


GREAT  BRITAIN— MALORY  139 

all  his  adventures.  "Ah!  Jesu,"  said  Sir  Launcelot,  "this  is  happily  come 
as  I  would  have  it,  and  therefore  I  pray  you  make  you  ready  to  do  battle; 
bu{  look  that  ye  tarry  till  ye  see  me  come  as  long  as  ye  may,  for  I  am 
sure  Sir  Mador  is  a  hot  knight,  if  he  be  chafed,  for  the  more  ye  suffer 
him,  the  hastier  will  he  be  to  do  battle."  "Sir,"  said  Sir  Bors,  "let  me  deal 
with  him;  doubt  ye  not  ye  shall  have  all  your  will."  Then  departed  Sir 
Bors  from  him,  and  came  unto  the  court  again.  Then  was  it  noised  in 
all  the  court  that  Sir  Bors  should  do  battle  for  the  Queen;  wherefore 
many  knights  were  greatly  displeased  with  him,  that  he  should  take  upon 
him  to  do  battle  in  the  Queen's  quarrel;  for  there  were  but  few  knights 
in  the  court  but  that  they  deemed  the  Queen  was  in  the  wrong,  and  that 
she  had  done  that  treason.  So  Sir  Bors  answered  thus  unto  his  fellows  of 
the  Round  Table,  "Wit  ye  well,  my  fair  lords,  it  were  shame  unto  us 
all,  and  we  suffered  to  see  the  most  noble  queen  of  the  world  for  to 
be  shamed  openly,  considering  that  her  lord  and  our  lord  is  the  man  of 
most  worship  of  the  world,  and  the  most  christened;  and  he  hath  always 
worshiped  us  all  in  all  places."  Many  knights  answered  him  again,  and 
said,  "As  for  our  most  noble  King  Arthur,  we  love  him  and  honor  him 
as  well  as  ye  do;  but  as  for  Queen  Guenever,  we  love  her  not,  for  be- 
cause she  is  a  destroyer  of  good  knights."  "Fair  lords,"  said  Sir  Bors,  "me 
seemeth,  ye  say,  not  as  ye  should  say,  for  never  yet  in  all  my  days  knew 
I,  nor  heard  say,  that  ever  she  was  a  destroyer  of  any  good  knight; 
but  at  all  times  as  far  as  I  ever  could  know,  she  was  always  a  maintainer 
of  good  knights;  and  always  she  hath  been  large  and  free  of  her  goods 
to  all  good  knights,  and  the  most  bounteous  lady  of  her  gifts  and  her  good 
grace  that  ever  I  saw,  or  heard  speak  of;  and  therefore  it  were  great 
shame  (said  Sir  Bors)  unto  us  all  to  our  most  noble  King's  wife,  if  we 
suffer  her  to  be  shamefully  slain:  and  wit  ye  well  (said  Sir  Bors)  I  will 
not  suffer  it;  for  I  dare  say  so  much  the  Queen  is  not  guilty  of  Sir 
Patrice's  death,  for  she  ought  him  never  none  evil  will,  nor  none  of  the 
twenty  knights  that  were  at  that  dinner;  for  I  dare  well  say  that  it  was 
for  good  love  she  had  us  to  dinner,  and  not  for  no  malice,  and  that  I 
doubt  not  shall  be  proved  hereafter;  for  howsoever  the  game  goeth,  there 
was  treason  among  some  of  us."  Then  some  said  to  Sir  Bors,  "We  may 
well  believe  your  words."  And  so  some  of  them  were  well  pleased,  and 
some  were  not  pleased.  " 

The  day  came  on  fast  until  the  even  that  the  battle  should  be.  Then 
the  Queen  sent  for  Sir  Bors,  and  asked  him  "how  he  was  disposed." 
"Truly,  madam,"  said  he,  "I  am  disposed  in  likewise  as  I  promised  you; 
that  is  to  say,  I  shall  not  fail  you,  unless  by  adventure  there  come  a  better 
knight  than  I  to  do  battle  for  you;  then,  madam,  am  I.  discharged;*^ 
my  promise."  "Will  ye,"  said  the  Queen,  "that  I  tell  my  lord,  King 
Arthur,  thus?"  "Do  as  it  shall  please  you,  madam,"  said  Sir  Bors.  Then 
the  Queen  went  unto  the  King,  and  told  him  the  answer  of  Sir  Bors. 


140  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

"Have  ye  no  doubt,"  said  the  King,  "of  Sir  Bors,  for  I  call  him  now  one 
of  the  best  knights  of  the  world,  and  the  most  profitablest  man;  and 
this  is  past  forth  until  the  morrow."  And  the  King  and  the  Queen,  and 
all  the  knights  that  were  there  at  that  time,  drew  them  to  the  meadcnv 
beside  Winchester,  whereas  the  battle  should  be.  And  so  when  the  King 
was  come  with  the  Queen,  and  many  knights  of  the  Round  Table,  then 
the  Queen  was  put  there  in  the  constable's  ward,  and  there  was  made  a 
great  fire  about  the  iron  stake,  that  an  Sir  Mador  de  la  Port  had  the 
better  she  should  be  burnt;  such  a  custom  was  used  in  those  days,  that 
neither  for  favor,  nor  for  love,  nor  for  affinity,  there  should  be  none 
other  but  right  wise  judgment  as  well  upon  a  King  as  upon  a  knight, 
as  well  upon  a  Queen  as  upon  another  poor  lady. 

So  in  the  meanwhile  came  in  Sir  Mador  de  la  Port,  and  took  the  oath 
before  the  King,  that  Queen  Guenever  did  this  treason  unto  his  cousin, 
Sir  Patrice,  and  unto  his  oath  he  would  prove  it  with  his  body,  hand  for 
hand,  who  that  would  say  the  contrary  thereto.  Right  so  came  Sir 
Bors  de  Ganis,  and  said  "that  as  for  Queen  Guenever  she  is  in  the  right, 
and  that  will  I  make  good  with  my  hands,  that  she  is  not  culpable  of  this 
treason  that  is  put  upon  her."  "Then  make  thee  ready,"  said  Sir  Mador, 
"and  we  shall  soon  prove  whether  thou  be  in  the  right  or  I."  "Sir,"  said 
Sir  Bors,  "wit  ye  well  I  know  thee  for  a  good  knight,  not  for  then  I 
shall  not  fear  thee  so  greatly,  but  I  trust  unto  Almighty  God,  giy  Maker, 
I  shall  be  able  enough  to  withstand  thy  malice;  but  thus  much  have  I 
promised  my  lord,  King  Arthur,  and  my  lady,  the  Queen,  that  I  shall 
do  battle  for  her  in  this  case  to  the  uttermost,  only  that  there  came  a 
better  knight  than  I  am,  and  discharged  me."  "Is  that  all?"  said  Sir 
Mador.  "Either  come  thou  off  and  do  battle  with  me,  or  else  say  nay." 
"Take  your  horse,"  said  Sir  Bors,  "and  as  I  suppose  ye  shall  not  tarry 
long,  but  that  ye  shall  be  answered/'  Then  either  departed  to  their  tents, 
and  made  them  ready  to  mount  upon  horseback  as  they  thought  best.  And 
anon  Sir  Mador  de  la  Port  came  into  the  field  with  his  shield  on  his 
shoulder,  and  a  spear  in  his  hand,  and  so  rode  about  the  place,  crying  unto 
King  Arthur,  "Bid  your  champion  come  forth  an  he  dare."  Then  was 
Sir  Bors  ashamed,  and  took  his  horse,  and  came  to  the  list  end;  and  then 
was  he  ware  whereas  came  out  of  a  wood  there  fast  by,  a  knight,  all 
armed  at  all  points,  upon  a  white  horse,  with  a  strong  shield  and  of  strange 
arms;  and  he  came  riding  all  that  he  might  run.  And  so  he  came  to  Sir 
Bors,  and  said,  "Fair  knight,  I  pray  you,  be  not  displeased,  for  here  must 
a  better  knight  than  ye  are  have  this  battle;  therefore  I  pray  you  to  with- 
draw you;  for  I  would  ye  knew  I  have  had  this  day  a  right  great 
journey^  and  this  battle  ought  to  be  mine,  and  so  I  promised  you  when  I 
spake  with  you  last,  and  with  all  my  heart  I  thank  you  for  your  good 
will."  Then  Sir  Bors  rode  unto  King  Arthur,  and  told  him  how  there 
was  a  knight  come  that  would  have  the  battle  for  to  fight  for  the  Queen. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— MALORY  141 

"What  knight  is  he?"  said  King  Arthur.  "I  cannot  show  you,"  said  Sir 
Bors,  "but  such  a  covenant  made  he  with  me  for  to  be  here  this  day. 
Now,  my  lord,"  said  Sir  Bors,  "here  am  I  discharged." 

Then  the  King  called  unto  the  knight,  and  asked  him  "if  he  would 
fight  for  the  Queen?"  Then  he  answered  unto  the  King,  "Therefore 
came  I  hither;  and,  therefore,  Sir  King,"  he  said,  "tarry  me  no  longer, 
for  I  may  not  tarry;  for  anon  as  I  have  finished  this  battle,  I  must 
depart  hence,  for  I  have  to  do  many  matters  elsewhere:  for  wit  ye  well," 
said  that  knight,  "this  is  dishonor  unto  you,  all  knights  of  the  Round 
Table,  to  see  and  know  so  noble  a  lady  and  so  courteous  a  Queen,  as 
Queen  Guenever  is,  thus  to  be  rebuked  and  shamed  among  you."  Then 
marveled  they  all  what  knight  that  might  be,  that  so  took  the  battle 
upon  him;  but  there  was  not  one  that  knew  him  but  if  it  were  Sir 
Bors.  "Then,"  said  Sir  Mador  de  la  Port  unto  the  King,  "now  let  me 
wit  with  whom  I  shall  have  to  do  withal."  And  then  they  rode  to  the 
list's  end,  and  there  they  couched  their  spears,  and  ran  the  one  against 
the  other  with  all  their  mights:  and  Sir  Mador's  spear  brake  all  to  pieces; 
but  Sir  Launcelot's  spear  held,  and  bare  Sir  Mador's  horse  and  all  back- 
ward to  the  ground,  and  had  a  great  fall;  but  mightily  and  suddenly  he 
avoided  his  horse,  and  dressed  his  shield  before  him,  and  then  drew  his 
sword,  and  bade  that  other  knight  alight  and  do  battle  with  him  on 
foot.  Theiv*that  knight  descended  lightly  from  his  horse  like  a  valiant 
man,  and  put  his  shield  afore  him,  and  drew  out  his  sword.  And  so  they 
came  eagerly  to  battle,  and  either  gave  other  many  sad  strokes,  tracing 
and  traversing,  racing  and  foyning,  and  hurtling  together  with  their 
swords,  as  they  had  been  two  wild  boars. 

Thus  were  they  fighting  nigh  an  hour;  for  this  Sir  Mador  was  a  full 
strong  knight,  and  mightily  proved  in  many  strong  battles.  But,  at  the 
last,  the  knight  smote  Sir  Mador  groveling  upon  the  ground,  and  the 
knight  stepped  near  him  for  to  have  pulled  Sir  Mador  flat-long  upon  the 
ground.  And  therewith,  all  suddenly,  Sir  Mador  arose;  and,  in  his  aris- 
ing, he  smote  that  knight  through  the  thigh,  that  the  blood  ran  out 
right  fiercely.  And  when  he  felt  himself  so  wounded,  and  saw  his  blood, 
he  let  him  arise  upon  his  feet,  and  then  he  gave  him  such  a  buffet  upon 
the  helm  that  he  fell  flat-long  to  the  ground.  And  therewith  he  strode 
to  him,  for  to  have  pulled  off  his  helm  from  his  head:  and  then  Sir 
Mador  prayed  that  knight  to  save  his  life;  and  so  he  yielded  him  as  an 
overcome  knight,  and  released  the  Queen  of  his  quarrel.  4s!  will  not 
grant  thee  life,"  said  the  knight,  "but  only  that  you  freely  release  the* 
Queen  forever,  and  that  no  manner  of  mention  be  made  upon  Sir 
Patrice's  tomb  that  ever  Queen  Guenever  consented  to  that  treason." 
"All  this  shall  be  done,"  said  Sir  Mador;  "and  clearly  I  discharge  my 
quarrel  forever."  Then  the  knights'  porters  of  the  list  took  up  Sir  Mador, 
and  led  him  to  his  tent;  and  the  other  knight  went  straight  to  the  stair- 


X42  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

foot,  whereas  King  Arthur  sat.  And  by  that  time  was  the  Queen  come 
unto  the  King,  and  either  kissed  other  lovingly.  And,  when  the  King 
saw  that  knight,  he  stooped  unto  him,  and  thanked  him;  and  in  likewise 
did  the  Queen:  and  then  the  King  prayed  him  to  pull  off  his  helm,  and 
to  rest  him,  and  to  take  a  sup  of  wine.  And  then  he  put  off  his  helm  to 
drink,  and  then  every  knight  knew  that  he  was  the  noble  knight,  Sir 
Launcelot. 


ROBERT  GREENE 


GREENE  was  born  at  Norwich  about  1560.  He  attended  both  Cam- 
bridge and  Oxford  Universities.  He  seems  to  have  lived  a  wild  and 
irregular  life  in  London.  He  wrote  plays,  pamphlets,  novels  and 
stories  and  despite  his  popularity  he  died  in  poverty  at  an  early 
age.  Greene  was  one  of  the  few  Elizabethan  writers  who  turned 
his  hand  to  the  composition  of  short  tales.  Two  of  his  romances 
contain  several  examples,  and  here  and  there  in  his  other  waitings, 
he  has  introduced  a  story  in  the  style  of  Roberto's  Tale.  In  an  age 
that  had  not  learned  to  copy  the  technical  finish  of  the  Italians, 
Greene  managed  in  this  story,  none  the  less,  to  surpass  most  of  his 
predecessors  in  the  art  of  elimination. 


ROBERTO'S  TALE 

(From  Greene's  Groatsworth  of  Wit  Bought  with  a  Million 
of  Repentance) 

IN  the  North  parts  there  dwelt  an  old  squire  that  had  a  young  daughter 
his  heir,  who  had  (as  I  know,  Madam  Lamilia,  you  have  had)  many 
youthful  gentlemen  that  long  time  sued  to  obtain  her  love.  But  she,  know- 
ing her  own  perfection  (as  women  are  by  nature  proud),  would  not 
to  any  of  them  vouchsafe  favor,  insomuch  that  they,  perceiving  her 
relentless,  showed  themselves  not  altogether  witless,  but  left  her  to  her 
fortune  when  they  found  her  frowardness.  At  last  it  fortuned,  among 
other  strangers,  a  farmer's  son  visited  her  father's  house,  on  whom,  at 
the  first  sight,  she  was  enamored;  he  likewise  on  her.  Tokens  of  love 
passed  between  them;  either  acquainted  other's  parents  of  their  diofce, 


GREAT  BRITAIN— GREENE  143 

and  they  kindly  gave  their  consent.  Short  tale  to  make,  married  they 
were,  and  great  solemnity  was  at  the  wedding  feast. 

A  young  gentleman  that  had  been  long  a  suitor  to  her,  vexing  that 
the  son  of  a  farmer  should  be  so  preferred,  cast  in  his  mind  by  what 
means,  to  mar  their  merriment,  he  might  steal  away  the  bride.  Here- 
upon he  confers  with  an  old  beldam  called  Mother  Gunby  dwelling 
thereby,  whose  counsel  being  taken,  he  fell  to  his  practise  and  drift,  and 
proceeded  thus.  In  the  afternoon,  when  dancers  were  very  busy,  he  takes 
the  bride  by  the  hand  and  after  a  turn  or  two  tells  her  in  her  ear  he  has 
a  secret  to  impart  unto  her,  appointing  her  in  any  wise,  in  the  evening,  to 
find  a  time  to  confer  with  him.  She  promised  she  would,  and  so  they 
parted.  Then  goes  he  to  the  bridegroom  and  with  protestations  of  entire 
affection,  protests  the  great  sorrow  he  takes  at  that  which  he  must  utter, 
whereon  depended  his  especial  credit,  if  it  were  known  the  matter  by 
him  should  be  discovered.  After  the  bridegroom's  promise  of  secrecy, 
the  gentleman  tells  him  that  a  friend  of  his  received  that  morning  from 
the  bride  a  letter,  wherein  she  willed  him  with  some  sixteen  horse  to 
await  her  coming  at  a  park  side;  for  that  she  detested  him  in  her  heart 
as  a  base  country  hind,  whom  her  father  compelled  her  to  marry.  The 
bridegroom,  almost  out  of  his  .wits,  began  to  bite  his  lip.  "Nay,"  said  the 
gentleman,  "if  you  will  by  me  be  advised,  you  shall  save  her  credit, 
win  her  by, kindness,  and  yet  prevent  her  wanton  complot."  "As  how?" 
said  the  bridegroom.  "Marry,  thus,"  said  the  gentleman:  "In  the  evening 
(for  till  the  guests  be  gone  she  intends  not  to  gad)  get  you  on  horseback, 
and  seem  to  be  of  the  company  that  attends  her  coming.  I  am  Appointed 
to  bring  her  from  the  house  to  the  park,  and  from  thence  fetch  §1  winding 
compass  of  a  mile  about,  but  to  turn  unto  bid  Mother  Gunby's  house, 
where  her  lover  (my  friend)  abides.  When  she  alights,  I  will  conduct 
her  to  a  chamber  far  from  his  lodging,  but  when  the  lights  are  out  and 
she  expecting  her  adulterous  copes-mate,  yourself  (as  reason  is)  shall 
prove  her  bedfellow,  where  privately  you  may  reprove  her,  and  in  the 
morning  early  return  home  without  trouble.  As  for  the  gentleman  my 
friend,  I  will  excuse  her  absence  to  him  by  saying,  She  mocked  thee 
with  her  maid  instead  of  herself,  whom,  when  I  knew  at  her  lighting, 
I  disdained  to  bring  her  unto  his  presence."  The  bridegroom  gave  his 
hand  it  should  be  so. 

Now  by  the  way  we  must  understand  this  Mother  Gunby  had  a  daugh- 
ter who  all  that  day  sat  heavily  at  home  with  a  willow  garland,  for 
that  the  bridegroom  (if  he  had  dealt  faithfully)  should  have  wedded  her 
before  any  other.  But  men,  Lamilia,  are  inconstant:  money  nowadays 
makes  the  match,  or  else  the  match  is  marred.  But  to  the  matter:  die 
bridegroom  and  the  gentleman  thus  agreed.  He  took  his  time,  conferred 
with  the  bride,  persuaded  her  that  her  husband  notwithstanding  his  fair 
show  at  the  marriage  had  sworn,  to  his  old  sweetheart,  neighbor  Gunby's 


144  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

daughter,  to  be  that  night  her  bedfellow,  and  if  she  would  bring  her 
father,  his  father  and  her  friends  to  the  house  at  midnight,  they  should 
find  it  so.  At  this  the  young  gentlewoman,  inwardly  vexed  to  be  by  a 
peasant  so  abused,  promised,  if  she  saw  likelihood  of  his  slipping  away, 
that  then  she  would  do  as  he  directed. 

'  All  this  thus  sorting,  the  old  woman's  daughter  was  trickly  attired, 
ready  to  furnish  this  pageant,  for  her  old  mother  provided  all  things 
necessary.  Well,  supper  past,  dancing  ended,  all  the  guests  would  home, 
and  the  bridegroom  pretending  to  bring  some  friend  of  his  home,  got 
his  horse  and  to  the  park  side  he  rode,  and  stayed  with  the  horsemen 
that  attended  the  gentleman.  Anon  came  Marian  like  mistress  bride,  and, 
mounted  behind  the  gentleman,  away  they  passed,  fetched  their  compass, 
and  at  last  alighted  at  an  old  wife's  house,  where  suddenly  she  is  con- 
veyed to  her  chamber,  and  the  bridegroom  sent  to  keep  her  company; 
where  he  had  scarce  devised  how  to  begin  his  exhortation,  but  the  father 
of  his  bride  knocked  at  the  chamber  door.  At  which  being  somewhat 
amazed  yet  thinking  to  turn  it  to  a  jest,  sith  his  wife  (as  he  thought) 
was  in  bed  with  him,  he  opened  the  door  saying,  "Father,  you  are  heartily 
welcome.  I  wonder  how  you  found  us  out  here.  This  device  to  remove 
ourselves  was  with  my  wife's  consent,  that  we  might  rest  quietly,  without 
the  maids  and  bachelors  disturbing  us." 

"But  where  is  your  wife?"  said  the  gentleman.  t 

"Why,  here  in  bed,"  quoth  the  other. 

"My  daughter  had  been  your  wife,  for  sure  I  am  to-day  she  was  given 
you  in  marriage." 

"You  are  merrily  disposed,"  said  the  bridegroom.  "What!  Think  you 
I  have  another  wife?" 

"I  think  but  as  you  speak,"  quoth  the  gentleman,  "for  my  daughter 
is  below,  and  you  say  your  wife  is  in  the  bed." 

"Below!"  said  he.  "You  are  a  merry  man."  And  with  that,  casting 
on  a  night-gown,  he  went  down  where,  when  he  saw  his  wife,  the  gen- 
tleman* his  father,  and  a  number  of  his  friends  assembled,  he  was  so 
confounded  that  how  to  behave  himself  he  knew  not,  only  he  cried  out 
that  he  was  deceived.  At  this  the  old  woman  arrived,  and  making  herself 
ignorant  of  all  the  whole  matter,  inquires  the  cause  of  that  sudden  tumult. 
When  she  was  told  the  new  bridegroom  was  found  in  bed  with  her 
daughter,  she  exclaimed  against  so  great  an  injury.  Marian  was  called 
in  quorum;  she  justified  it  was  by  his  allurement.  He,  being  condemned 
by  all  their  consents,  was  judged  unworthy  to  have  the  gentlewoman  unto 
his  wife,  and  compelled  (for  escaping  of  punishment)  to  marry  Marian; 
and  the  young  gentleman  (for  his  care  in  discovering  the  farmer's 
lewdness)  was  recompensed  with  the  gentlewoman's  ever-during  love. 


GREAT  BRITAIN—  DEFOE 

DANIEL  DEFOE 


DANIEL  FOE  —  later  changed  to  Defoe—  was  born  in  London,  prob- 
ably in  1659,  of  a  lower  middle-class  family  of  Dissenters.  He 
lived  an  active  life  as  a  hack-writer,  earning  a  livelihood  for  the 
most  part  by  writing  political  pamphlets,  satires  —  in  a  word  paid 
propaganda  —  for  one  or  other  of  the  powerful  parties.  He  was 
also  engaged  in  business,  -and  edited  a  periodical  for  nine  years.  He 
was  once  imprisoned  for  two  years  because  of  his  bitter  satire,  The 
Shortest  Way  with  Dissenters.  It  has  not  yet  been  possible  to  iden- 
tify all  his  very  numerous  writings.  It  was  not  until  he  reached  the 
age  of  sixty  that  he  began  to  write  the  works  by  which  he  is  best 
known.  The  first  of  these  was  Robinson  Crusoey  celebrated  as  one 
of  the  world's  favorite  books.  But  some  years  earlier  he  had  written 
a  few  sketches,  the  best  of  which  appears  in  the  following  pages. 
It  is  a  most  convincing  bit  of  realistic  writing.  It  was  first  pub- 
lished in  1,706  in  pamphlet  form,  and  later  revised. 

The  present  is  a  reprint  from  the  latest  revised  edition,  in  which 
spelling  and  punctuation  have  been  modernized. 


TRUE  RELATION  OF  THE  APPARITION  OF 
ONE  MRS.  VEAL 


thing  is  so  rare  in  all  its  circumstances,  and  on  so  good  au- 
JL  thority,  that  my  reading  and  conversation  have  not  given  me  any- 
thing like  it.  It  is  fit  to  gratify  the  most  ingenious  and  serious  inquirer. 
Mrs.  Bargrave  is  the  person  to  whom  Mrs.  Veal  appeared  after  her 
death;  she  is  my  intimate  friend,  and  I  can  avouch  for  her  reputation 
for  these  fifteen  or  sixteen  years,  on  my  own  knowledge;  and  I  can 
affirm  the  good  character  she  had  from  her  youth  to  the  time  of  my 
acquaintance.  Though,  since  this  relation,  she  is  calumniated  by  some 
people  that  are  friends  to  the  brother  of  Mrs.  Veal  who  appeared  to 
think  the  relation  of  this  appearance  to  be  a  reflection,  and  endeavor 
what  they  can  to  blast  Mrs.  Bargrave's  reputation  and  to  laugh  the 
story  out  of  countenance.  But  by  the  circumstances  thereof,  and  the 
cheerful  disposition  of  Mrs.  Bargrave,  notwithstanding  the  ill  usage  of 
a  very  wicked  husband,  there  is  not  yet  the  least  sign  of  dejection  in  her 
face;  nor  did  I  ever  hear  her  let  fall  a  desponding  or  murmuring 
expression;  nay,  not  when  actually  under  her  husband's  barbarity,  which 
I  have  been  a  witness  to,  and  several  other  persons  of  undoubted  repu- 
tation. 


146  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Now  you  must  know  Mrs.  Veal  was  a  maiden  gentlewoman  of  about 
thirty  years  of  age,  and  for  some  years  past  had  been  troubled  with  fits, 
which  were  perceived  coming  on  her  by  her  going  off  from  her  dis- 
course very  abruptly  to  some  impertinence.  She  was  maintained  by  an 
only  brother,  and  kept  his  house  in  Dover.  She  was  a  very  pious  woman, 
and  her  brother  a  very  sober  man,  to  all  appearance;  but  now  he  does 
all  he  can  to  null  and  quash  the  story.  Mrs.  Veal  was  intimately  ac- 
quainted with  Mrs.  Bargrave  from  her  childhood.  Mrs.  Veal's  circum- 
stances were  then  mean;  her  father  did  not  take  care  of  his  children  as 
he  ought,  so  that  they  were  exposed  to  hardships.  And  Mrs.  Bargrave  in 
those  days  had  as  unkind  a  father,  though  she  wanted  neither  for  food 
nor  clothing;  while  Mrs.  Veal  wanted  for  both,  insomuch  that  she 
would  often  say,  "Mrs.  Bargrave,  you  are  not  only  the  best,  but  the  only 
friend  I  have  in  the  world;  and  no  circumstance  of  life  shall  ever  dis- 
solve my  friendship."  They  would  often  condole  each  other's  adverse 
fortunes,  and  read  together  Drellncourt  ufon  Deathy  and  other  books; 
and  so,  like  two  Christian  friends,  they  comforted  each  other  under  their 
sorrow.  *  \ 

•Some  time  after,  Mr.  Veal's  friends  got  him  a  place  in  the  custom- 
house at  Dover,  which  occasioned  Mrs.  Veal,  by  little  and  little,  to  fall 
off  from  her  intimacy  with  Mrs.  Bargrave,  though  there  was  never  any 
such  thing  as  a  quarrel;  but  an  indifferency  came  on  by  cjegrees,  till  at 
last  Mrs.  Bargrave  had  not  seen  her  in  two  years  ar.u.  a  half,  though 
above  a  twelvemonth  of  the  time  Mrs.  Bargrave  hath  been  absent  from 
Dover,  and  this  last  half-year  has  been  in  Canterbury  about  two  months 
of  the  time,  dwelling  in  a  house  of  her  own. 

In  this  house,  on  the  eighth  of  September,  one  thousand  seven  hun- 
dred and  five,  she  was  sitting  alone  in  the  forenoon,  thinking  over  her 
unfortunate  life,  and  arguing  herself  into  a  due  resignation  to  Provi- 
dence, though  her  condition  seemed  hard:  "And,"  said  she,  "I  have  been 
provided  for  hitherto,  and  doubt  not  but  I  shall  be  still,  and  am  well 
satisfied  that  my  afflictions  shall  end  when  it  is  most  fit  for  me."  And 
then  took  up  her  sewing  work,  which  she  had  no  sooner  done  but  she  j 
hears  a  knocking  at  the  door;  she  went  to  see  who  was  there,  and  this  \ 
proved  to  be  Mrs.  Veal,  her  old  friend,  who  was  in  a  riding  habit.  At 
that  moment  of  time  the  clock  struck  twelve  at  noon. 

"Madam,"  says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "I  am  surprised  to  see  you,  you  who 
have  been  so  long  a  stranger";  but  told  her  she  was  glad  to  see  her,  and 
offered  to  salute  her,  which  Mrs.  Veal  complied  with,  till  their  lips 
almost  touched,  and  then  Mrs.  Veal  drew  her  hand  across  her  own 
eyes,  and  said,  "I  am  not  very  well,"  and  so  waived  it.  She  told  Mrs. 
Bargrave  she  was  going  a  journey,  and  had  a  great  mind  to  see  her 
first.  "But,"  says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "how  x:an  you  take  a  journey  alone?  I 
am  amazed  at  it,  because  I  know  you  have  a  fond  brother."  "Oh,"  says 


GREAT  BRITAIN— DEFOE  147 

Mrs.  Veal,  "I  gave  my  brother  the  slip,  and  came  away,  because  I  had 
so  great  a  desire  to  see  you  before  I  took  my  journey."  So  Mrs.  Bar- 
grave  went  in  with  her  into  another  room  within  the  first,  and  Mrs. 
Veal  sat  her  down  in  an  elbow-chair,  in  which  Mrs.  Bargrave  was  sit- 
ting when  she  heard  Mrs.  Veal  knock.  "Then,"  says  Mrs.  Veal,  "my 
dear  friend,  I  am  come  to  renew  our  old  friendship  again,  and  beg  your 
pardon  for  my  breach  of  it;  and  if  you  can  forgive  me,  you  are  the 
best  of  women."  "Oh,"  says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "do  not  mention  such  a 
thing;  I  have  not  had  an  uneasy  thought  about  it."  "What  did  you  think 
of  me?"  says  Mrs.  Veal.  Says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "I  thought  you  were  like 
the  rest  of  the  world,  and  that  prosperity  had  made  you  forget  yourself 
and  me."  Then   Mrs.   Veal  reminded   Mrs.   Bargrave   of  the   many 
friendly  offices  she  did  her  in  former  days,  and  much  of  the  conversa- 
tion they  had  with  each  other  in  the  times  of  their  adversity;  what  books 
they  read,  and  what  comfort  in  particular  they  received  from  Drelin- 
court's  Book  of  Death,  which  was  the  best,  she  said,  on  the  subject 
ever  wrote.  She  also  mentioned  Dr.  Sherlock,  and  two  Dutch  books, 
which  were  translated,  wrote  upon  death,  and  several  others.  But  Drel- 
incourt,  she  said,  had  the  clearest  notions  of  death  and  of  the  future 
state  of  any  'who  had  handled  that  subject.  Then  she  asked  Mrs.  Bar- 
grave  whether  she  had  Drelincourt.  She  said,  "Yes."  Says  Mrs.  Veal, 
"Fetch  it."  ^And  so  Mrs.  Bargrave  goes  upstairs  and  brings  it  down. 
Says  Mrs.  Veal,  "Dear  Mrs.  Bargrave,  if  the  eyes  of  our  faith  were  as 
open  as  the  eyes  of  our  body,  we  should  see  numbers  of  angels  about  us 
for  our  guard.  The  notions  we  have  of  Heaven  now  are  nothing  like 
what  it  is,  as  Drelincourt  says;  therefore  be  comforted  under  your  afflic- 
tions, and  believe  that  the  Almighty  has  a  particular  regard  to  you,  and 
that  your  afflictions  are  marks  of  God's  favor;   and  when  they  have 
done  the  business  they  are  sent  for,  they  shall  be  removed  from  you. 
And  believe  me,  my  dear  friend,  believe  what  I  say  to  you,  one  minute 
of  future  happiness  will  infinitely  reward  you  for  all  your  sufferings. 
For  I  can  never  believe"  (and  claps  her  hand  upon  her  knee  with  great 
earnestness,  which,  indeed,  ran  through  most  of  her  discourse)  "that 
ever  God  will  suffer  you  to  spend  all  your  days  in  this  afflicted  state. 
But  be  assured  that  your  afflictions  shall  leave  you,  or  you  them,  in  a 
short  time."  She  spake  in  that  pathetical  and  heavenly  manner  that  Mrs. 
Bargrave  wept  several  times,  she. was  so  deeply  affected  with  it. 

Then  Mrs.  Veal  mentioned  Doctor  Kendrick's  Ascetic,  at  the  end  of 
which  he  gives  an  account  of  the  1ives  of  the  primitive  Christians,  Their 
pattern  she  recommended  to  our  imitation,  and  said,  "Their  conversation 
was  not  like  this  of  our  age.  For  now,"  says  she,  "there  is  nothing  but 
vain,  frothy  discourse,  which  is  far  different  from  theirs.  Theirs  was  to 
edification,  and  to  build  one  another  up  in  faith,  so  that  they  were  not 
as  we  are,  nor  are  we  as  they  were.  But,"  said  she,  "we  ought  to  do  as 


I4&  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

they  did;  there  was  a  hearty  friendship  among  them;  but  where  is  it 
now  to  be  found?"  Says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "It  is  hard  indeed  to  find  a 
true  friend  in  these  days."  Says  Mrs.  Veal,  "Mr.  Norris  has  a  fine  copy 
of  verses,  called  Friendship  in  Perfection,  which  I  wonderfully  admire. 
Have  you  seen  the  book?"  says  Mrs.  Veal.  "No,"  says  Mrs.  Bargrave, 
"but  I  have  the  verses  of  my  own  writing  out."  "Have  you?"  says  Mrs. 
Veal;  "then  fetch  them";  which  she  did  from  above  stairs,  and  offered 
them  to  Mrs.  Veal  to  read,  who  refused,  and  waived  the  thing,  saying, 
"holding  down  her  head  would  make  it  ache";  and  then  desiring  Mrs. 
Bargrave  to  read  them  to  her,  which  she  did.  As  they  were  admiring 
Friendship,  Mrs.  Veal  said,  "Dear  Mrs.  Bargrave,  I  shall  love  you  for- 
ever." In  these  verses  there  is  twice  used  the  word  Elysian.  "Ah!"  says 
Mrs.  Veal,  "these  poets  have  such  names  for  Heaven."  She  would  often 
draw  her  hand  across  her  own  eyes,  and  say,  "Mrs.  Bargrave,  do  not 
you  think  I  am  mightily  impaired  by  my  fits?"  "No,"  says  Mrs.  Bar- 
grave;  "I  think  you  look  as  well  as  ever  I  knew  you." 

After  this  discourse,  which  the  apparition  put  in  much  finer  words 
than  Mrs.  Bargrave  said  she  could  pretend  to,  and  as  much  more  as  she 
can  remember — for  it  cannot  be  thought  that  an  hour  and  three  quarters' 
conversation  could  all  be  retained,  though  the  main  of  it  she  thinks  she 
does — she  said  to  Mrs.  Bargrave  she  would  have  her  write  a  letter  to 
her  brother,  and  tell  him  she  would  have  him  give  rings  to  such  and 
such;  and  that  there  was  a  purse  of  gold  in  her  cabinet, "and  that  she 
would  have  two  broad  pieces  given  to  her  cousin  Watson. 

Talking  at  this  rate,  Mrs.  Bargrave  thought  that  a  fit  was  coming 
upon  her,  and  so  placed  herself  on  a  chair  just  before  her  knees,  to  keep 
her  from  falling  to  the  ground,  if  her  fits  should  occasion  it;  for  the 
elbow-chair,  she  thought,  would  keep  her  from  falling  on  either  side. 
And  to  divert  Mrs.  Veal,  as  she  thought,  took  hold  of  her  gown-sleeve 
several  times,  and  commended  it.  Mrs.  Veal  told  her  it  was  a  scoured 
silk,  and  newly  made  up.  But,  for  all  this,  Mrs.  Veal  persisted  in  her 
request,  and  told  Mrs.  Bargrave  she  must  not  deny  her.  And  she  would 
have  her  tell  her  brother  all  their  conversation  when  she  had  the  oppor- 
tunity. "Dear  Mrs.  Veal,"  says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "it  is  much  better,  me- 
thiftks,  'to  do  it  yourself."  "No,"  says  Mrs.  Veal,  "though  it  seems  im- 
pertinent to  you  now,  you  will  see  more  reasons  for  it  hereafter."  Mrs. 
Bargrave,  then,  to  satisfy  her  importunity,  was  going  to  fetch  a  pen  and 
ink,  but  Mrs.  Veal  said,  "Let  it  alone  now,  but  do  it  when  I  am  gone; 
but  you  must  be  sure  to  do  it";  whkh  was  one  of  the  last  things  she 
enjoined  her  at  parting,  and  so  she  promised  her. 

.  Then  Mrs.  Veal  asked  for  Mrs.  Bargrave's  daughter.  She  said  she 
was  not  at  home.  "But  if  you  have  a  mind  to  see  her,"  says  Mrs.  Bar- 
grave,  "I'll  send  for  her."  "Do,"  says  Mrs.  Veal;  on  which  she  left 
her,  and  went  to  a  neighbor's  to  see  her;  and  by  the  time  Mrs.  Bargrave 


GREAT  BRITAIN— DEFOE  149 

was  returning,  Mrs.  Veal  was  without  the  door  in  the  street,  in  the  face 
of  the  beast-market,  on  a  Saturday  (which  is  market-day),  and  stood 
ready  to  part  as  soon  as  Mrs.  Bargrave  came  to  her.  She  asked  her  why 
she  was  in  such  haste.  She  said  she  must  be  going,  though  perhaps  she 
might  not  go  her  journey  till  Monday;  and  told  Mrs.  Bargrave  she 
hoped  she  should  see  her  again  at  her  cousin  Watson's  before  she  went 
whither  she  was  going.  Then  she  said  she  would  take  her  leave  of  her, 
and  walked  from  Mrs.  Bargrave,  in  her  view,  till  a  turning  interrupted 
the  sight  of  her,  which  was  three-quarters  after  one  in  the  afternoon. . 

Mrs.  Veal  died  the  seventh  of  September,  at  twelve  o'clock  at  noon, 
of  her  fits,  and  had  not  above  four  hours'  senses  before  her  death,  in 
which  time  she  received  the  sacrament.  The  next  day  after  Mrs.  Veal's 
appearance,  being  Sunday,  Mrs.  Bargrave  was  mightily  indisposed  with 
a  cold  and  sore  throat,  that  she  could  not  go  out  that  day;  but  on  Mon- 
day morning  she  sends  a  person  to  Captain  Watson's  to  know  if  Mrs. 
Veal  was  there.  They  wondered  at  Mrs.  Bargrave's  inquiry,  and  sent  her 
word  she  was  not  there,  nor  was  expected.  At  this  answer,  Mrs.  Bar- 
grave  told  the  maid  she  had  certainly  mistook  the  name  or  made  some 
blunder.  And  though  she  was  ill,  she  put  on  her  hood  and  went  herself 
to  Captain  Watson's,  though  she  knew  none  of  the  family,  to  see  if 
Mrs.  Veal  was  there  or  not.  They  said  they  wondered  at  her  asking,  for 
that  she  had  not  been  in  town;  they  were  sure,  if  she  had,  she  would 
have  been  tliere.  Says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "I  am  sure  she  was  with  me  on 
Saturday  almost  two  hours."  They  said  it  was  impossible,  for  they  must 
have  seen  her  if  she  had.  In  comes  Captain  Watson,  while  they  were  in 
dispute,  and  said  that  Mrs.  Veal  was  certainly  dead,  and  the  escutcheons 
were  making.  This  strangely  surprised  Mrs.  Bargrave,  when  she  sent 
to  the  person  immediately  who  had  the  care  of  them,  and  found  it  true. 
Then  she  related  the  whole  story  to  Captain  Watson's  family;  and  what 
gown  she  had  on,  and  how  striped;  and  that  Mrs.  Veal  told  her  that  it 
was  scoured.  Then  Mrs.  Watson  cried  out,  "You  have  seen  her  indeed, 
for  none  knew  but  Mrs.  Veal  and  myself  that  the  gown  was  scoured." 
And  Mrs.  Watson  owned  that  she  described  the  gown  exactly;  "for," 
said  she,  "I  helped  her  to  make  it  up."  This  Mrs.  Watson  blazed  all 
about  the  town,  and  avouched  the  demonstration  of  truth  of  Mrs.  Bar- 
grave's  seeing  Mrs.  Veal's  apparition.  And  Captain  Watson  carried  two 
gentlemen  immediately  to  Mrs.  Bargrave's  house  to  hear  the  relation 
from  her  own  mouth.  And  when  it  spread  so  fast  that  gentlemen  and 
persons  of  quality,  the  judicious  and  skeptical  part  of  the  world,  flocked 
in  upon  her,  it  at  last  became  such  a  task  that  she  was  forced  to  go  out 
of  the  way;  for  they  were  in  general  extremely  satisfied  of  the  truth 
of  the  thing,  and  plainly  saw  that  Mrs.  Bargrave  was  no  hypochondriac, 
for  she  always  appears  with  such  a  cheerful  air  and  pleasing  mien  that 
she  has  gained  the  favor  and  esteem  of  all  the  gentry,  and  it  is  thought 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

a  great  favor  if  they  can  but  get  the  relation  from  her  own  mouth.  I 
should  have  told  you  before  that  Mrs.  Veal  told  Mrs.  Bargrave  that  her 
sister  and  brother-in-law  were  just  come  down  from  London  to  see  her. 
Says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "How  came  you  to  order  matters  so  strangely?" 
"It  could  not  be  helped,"  said  Mrs.  Veal.  And  her  brother  and  sister  did 
come  to  see  her,  and  entered  the  town  of  Dover  just  as  Mrs.  Veal  was 
expiring.  Mrs.  Bargrave  asked  her  whether  she  would  drink  some  tea. 
Says  Mrs.  Veal,  "I  do  not  care  if  I  do;  but  I'll  warrant  you  this  mad 
fellow" — meaning  Mrs.  Bargrave's  husband — "has  broke  all  your  trin- 
kets." "But,"  says  Mrs.  Bargrave,  "I'll  get  something  to  drink  in  for 
all  that";  but  Mrs.  Veal  waived  it,  and  said,  "It  is  no  maner;  let  it 
alone,"  and  so  it  passed. 

All  the  time  I  sat  with  Mrs.  Bargrave,  which  was  some  hours,  she 
recollected  fresh  sayings  of  Mrs.  Veal.  And  one  material  thing  more  she 
told  Mrs.  Bargrave,  that  old  Mr.  Bretton  allowed  Mrs.  Veal  ten  pounds 
a  year,  which  was  a  secret,  and  unknown  to  Mrs.  Bargrave  till  Mrs. 
Veal  told  her. 

Mrs.  Bargrave  never  varies  in  her  story,  which  puzzles  those  who 
doubt  of  the  truth,  or  are  unwilling  to  believe  it.  A  servant  in  the 
neighbor's  yard  adjoining  to  Mrs.  Bargrave's  house  heard  her  talking  to 
somebody  an  hour  of  the  time  Mrs.  Veal  was  with  her.  Mrs.  Bargrave 
went  out  to  her  next  neighbor's  the  very  moment  she  parted  with  Mrs. 
Veal,  and  told  her  what  ravishing  conversation  she  had  had  with  an  old 
friend,  «and  told  the  whole  of  it.  Drelincourt's  Book  of  Death  is,  since 
this  happened,  bought  up  strangely.  And  it  is  to  be  observed  that,  not- 
withstanding all  the  trouble  and  fatigue  Mrs.  Bargrave  has  undergone 
upon  this  account,  she  never  took  the  value  of  a  farthing,  nor  suffered 
her  daughter  to  take  anything  of  anybody,  and  therefore  can  have  no 
interest  in  telling  the  story. 

But  Mr.  Veal  does  what  he  can  to  stifle  the  matter,  and  said  he  would 
see  Mrs.  Bargrave;  but  yet  it  is  certain  matter  of  fact  that  he  has  been 
at  Captain  Watson's  since  the  death  of  his  sister,  and  yet  never  went 
near  Mrs.  Bargrave;  and  some  of  his  friends  report  her  to  be  a  liar,  and 
that  she  knew  of  Mr.  Bretton's  ten  pounds  a  year.  But  the  person  who 
pretends  to  say  so  has  the  reputation  to  be  a  notorious  liar  among  per- 
sons whom  I  know  to  be  of  undoubted  credit.  Now,  Mr.  Veal  is  more 
of  a  gentleman  than  to  say  she  lies,  but  says  a  bad  husband  has  crazed 
her;  but  she  needs  only  present  herself,  and  it  will  effectually  confute 
that  pretense.  Mr.  Veal  says  he  asked  his  sister  on  her  death-bed  whether 
she  had  a  mind  to  dispose  of  anything.  And  she  said  no.  Now  the  things 
which  Mrs.  Veal's  apparition  would  have  disposed  of  were  so  trifling, 
and  nothing  of  justice  aimed  at  in  her  disposal,  that  the  design  of  it  , 
appears  to  me  to  be  only  in  order  to  make  Mrs.  Bargrave  satisfy  the 
world  of  the  reality  thereof  as  to  what  she  had  seen  and  heard,  and  to 


GREAT  BRITAIN— DEFOE  151 

secure  her  reputation  among  the  reasonable  and  understanding  part  of 
mankind.  \nd  then  again,  Mr.  Veal  owns  that  there  was  a  purse  of 
gold;  but  it  was  not  found  in  her  cabinet,  but  in  a  comb-box.  This  looks 
improbable;  for  that  Mrs.  Watson  owned  that  Mrs.  Veal  was  so  very 
careful  of  the  key  of  her  cabinet  that  she  would  trust  nobody  with  it; 
and  if  so,  no  doubt  she  would  not  trust  her  gold  out  of  it.  And  Mrs. 
Veal's  often  drawing  her  hands  over  her  eyes,  and  asking  Mrs.  Bargrave 
whether  her  fits  had  not  impaired  her,  looks  to  me  as  if  she  did  it  on 
purpose  to  remind  Mrs.  Bargrave  of  her  fits,  to  prepare  her  not  to 
think  it  strange  that  she  should  put  her  upon  writing  to  her  brother,  to 
dispose  of  rings  and  gold,  which  looks  so  much  like  a  dying  person's  be- 
quest; and  it  took  accordingly  with  Mrs.  Bargrave  as  the  effect  of  her 
fits  coming  upon  her,  and  was  one  of  the  many  instances  of  her  won- 
derful love  to  her  and  care  of  her,  that  she  should  not  be  affrighted, 
which,  indeed,  appears  in  her  whole  management,  particularly  in  her 
coming  to  her  in  the  daytime,  waiving  the  salutation,  and  when  she  was 
alone;  and  then  the  manner  of  her  parting,  to  prevent  a  second  attempt 
to  salute  her. 

Now,  why  Mr.  Veal  should  think  this  relation  a  reflection — as  it  is 
plain  he  does,  by  his  endeavoring  to  stifle  it — I  cannot  imagine;  because 
the  generality  believe  her  to  be  a  good  spirit,  her  discourse  was  so  heav- 
enly. Her  tvjjo  great  errands  were,  to  comfort  Mrs.  Bargrave  in  her 
affliction,  and  to  ask  her  forgiveness  for  her  breach  of  friendship,  and 
with  a  pious  discourse  to  encourage  her.  So  that,  after  all,  to  suppose 
that  Mrs.  Bargrave  could  hatch  such  an  invention  as  this,  from  Friday 
noon  to  Saturday  noon — supposing  that  she  knew  of  Mrs.  Veal's  death 
the  very  first  moment — without  jumbling  circumstances,  and  without 
any  interest,  too,  she  must  be  more  witty,  fortunate,  and  wicked,  too, 
than  any  indifferent  person,  I  dare  say,  will  allow.  I  asked  Mrs.  Bar- 
grave  several  times  if  she  was  sure  she  felt  the  gown.  She  answered, 
modestly,  "If  my  senses  be  to  be  relied  on,  I  am  sure  of  it."  I  asked  her 
if  she  heard  a  sound  when  she  clapped  her  hand  upon  her  knee.  She 
said  she  did  not  remember  she  did,  but  said  she  appeared  to  be  as  much 
a  substance  as  I  did  who  talked  with  her.  "And  I  may,"  said  she,  "be 
as  soon  persuaded  that  your  apparition  is  talking  to  me  now  as  that  I  did 
not  really  see  her;  for  I  was  under  no  manner  of  fear,  and  received 
her  as  a  friend,  and  parted  with  her  as  such.  I  would  not,"  says  she, 
"give  one  farthing  to  make  any  one  believe  it;  I  have  no  interest  in  it; 
nothing  but  trouble  is  entailed  upon  me  for  a  long  time,  for  aught  I 
know;  and,  had  it  not  come  to  light  by  accident,  it  would  never  have 
been  made  public."  But  now  she  says  she  will  make  her  own  private  use 
of  it,  and  keep  herself  out  of  the  way  as  much  as  she  can;  and  so  she 
has  done  since.  She  says  she  had  a  gentleman  who  came  thirty  miles  to 
her  to  hear  the  relation;  and  that  she  had  told  it  to  a  roomful  of  people 


x  5*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

at  the  time.  Several  particular  gentlemen  have  had  the  story  from  Mrs. 
Bargrave's  own  mouth. 

This  thing  has  very  much  affected  me,  and  I  am  as  well  satisfied  as 
I  am  of  the  best-grounded  matter  of  fact.  And  why  we  should  dispute 
matter  of  fact,  because  we  cannot  solve  things  of  which  we  can  have 
no  certain  or  demonstrative  notions,  seems  strange  to  me;  Mrs.  Bar- 
grave's  authority  and  sincerity  alone  would  have  been  undoubted  in  any 
other  case. 


JOSEPH  ADDISON 

(1672-1719) 

BORN  in  Wiltshire  in  1672,  of  a  respected  and  cultured  family, 
Joseph  Addison  went  to  Oxford,  and  began  his  literary  life  by 
writing  Latin  verses.  In  1 699  he  travelled  on  the  Continent  by  way 
of  preparation  for  a  political  career.  But  on  the  death  of  the  King 
in  1703  his  hopes  of  advancement  were  shattered.  The  next  year, 
however,  he  celebrated  Marlborough's  victory  at  Blenheirg  in  his 
poem  The  Campaign,  which  attracted  considerable  notice.  In  1709 
he  collaborated  with  his  friend  Richard  Steele  in  the  recently 
founded  periodical,  The  Tatter,  and  later  in  the  better-known 
Spectator,  contributing  essays  and  sketches  and  several  charmingly 
written  tales  which  are  among  the  most  finished  and  neatly  turned 
stories  in  the  language. 


THE  STORY  OF  AN  HEIR 
(From  The  Spectator) 

k  S  I  was  yesterday  taking  the  air  with  my  friend  Sir  Roger,  we  were 
met  by  a  fresh-colored  ruddy  young  man  who  rid  by  us  full  speed, 
with  a  couple  of  servants  behind  him.  Upon  my  inquiry  who  he  was, 
Sir  Roger  told  me  that  he  was  a  young  gentleman  of  a  considerable 
estate,  who  had  been  educated  by  a  tender  mother  that  lived  not  many 
miles  from  the  place  where  we  were.  She  is  a  very  good  lady,  says  my 
friend,  but  took  so  much  care  of  her  son's  health  that  she  has  made  him 
good  for  nothing.  She  quickly  found  that  reading  was  bad  for  his  eyes, 
and  that  writing  made  his  head  ache.  He  was  let  loose  among  the  woods 


GREAT  BRITAIN— ADDISON  153 

as  soon  as  he  was  able  to  ride  on  horseback,  or  to  carry  a  gun  upon  his 
shoulder.  To  be  brief,  I  found,  by  my  friend's  account  of  him,  that  he 
had  got  a  great  stock  of  health,  but  nothing  else;  and  that  if  it  were  a 
man's  business  only  to  live,  there  would  not  be  a  more  accomplished 
young  fellow  in  the  whole  country. 

The  truth  of  it  is,  since  my  residing  in  these  parts  I  have  seen  and 
heard  innumerable  instances  of  young  heirs  and  elder  brothers  who  either 
from  their  own  reflecting  upon  the  estates  they  are  born  to,  and  there- 
fore thinking  all  other  accomplishments  unnecessary,  or  from  hearing 
these  notions  frequently  inculcated  to  them  by  the  flattery  of  their  serv- 
ants and  domestics,  or  from  the  same  foolish  thought  prevailing  in  those 
who  have  the  care  of  their  education,  are  of  no  manner  of  use  but  to 
keep  up  their  families,  and  transmit  their  lands  and  houses  in  a  line  to 
posterity. 

This  makes  me  often  think  on  a  story  I  have  heard  of  two  friends, 
which  I  shall  give  my  reader  at  large,  under  feigned  names.  The  moral 
of  it  may,  I  hope,  be  useful,  though  there  are  some  circumstances  which 
make  it  rather  appear  like  a  novel,  than  a  true  story. 

Eudoxus  and  Leontine  began  the  world  with  small  estates.  They  were 
both  of  thfem  men  of  good  sense  and  great  virtue.  They  prosecuted  their 
studies  together  in  their  earlier  years,  and  entered  into  such  a  friendship 
as  lasted  to,the  end  of  their  lives.  Eudoxus,  at  his  first  setting  out  in  the 
world,  threw  himself  into  a  court,  where  by  his  natural  endowments 
and  his  acquired  abilities  he  made  his  way  from  one  post  to  another,  till 
at  length  he  had  raised  a  very  considerable  fortune.  Leontine  on  the 
contrary  sought  all  opportunities  of  improving  his  mind  by  study,  con- 
versation and  travel.  He  was  not  only  acquainted  with  all  the  sciences, 
but  with  the  most  eminent  professors  of  them  throughout  Europe.  He 
knew  perfectly  well  the  interests  of  its  princes,  with  the  customs  and 
fashions  of  their  courts,  and  could  scarce  meet  with  the  name  of  an 
extraordinary  person  in  the  Gazette  whom  he  had  not  either  talked  to 
or  seen.  In  short,  he  had  so  well  mixed  and  digested  his  knowledge  of 
men  and  books,  that  he  made  one  of  the  most  accomplished  persons  of 
his  age.  During  the  whole  course  of  his  studies  and  travels  he  kept  up 
a  punctual  correspondence  with  Eudoxus,  who  often  made  himself  ac- 
ceptable to  the  principal  men  about  court  by  the  intelligence  which  he 
received  from  Leontine.  When  they  were  both  turned  of  forty  (an  age 
in  which,  according  to  Mr.  Cowley,  there  is  no  dallying  with  life)  they 
determined,  pursuant  to  the  resolution  they  had  taken  in  the  beginning 
of  their  lives,  to  retire,  and  pass  the  remainder  of  their  days  in  the 
country.  In  order  to  this,  they  both  of  them  married  much  about  the 
same  time.  Leontine,  with  his  own  and  his  wife's  fortune,  bought  a  farm 
of  three  hundred  a  year,  which  lay  within  the  neighborhood  of  his  friend 
Eudoxus,  who  had  purchased  an  estate  of  as  many  thousands.  They  were 


154  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

both  of  them  fathers  about  the  same  time,  Eudoxus  having  a  son  born 
to  him,  and  Leontine  a  daughter;  but  to  the  unspeakable  grief  of  the 
latter,  his  young  wife  (in  whom  all  his  happiness  was  wrapped  up)  died 
in  a  few  days  after  the  birth  of  her  daughter.  His  affliction  would  have 
been  insupportable,  had  not  he  been  comforted  by  the  daily  visits  and 
conversations  of  his  friend.  As  they  were  one  day  talking  together  with 
their  usual  intimacy,  Leontine,  considering  how  incapable  he  was  of 
giving  his  daughter  a  proper  education  in  his  own  house,  and  Eudoxus, 
reflecting  on  the  ordinary  behavior  of  a  son  who  knows  himself  to  be 
the  heir  of  a  great  estate,  they  both  agreed  upon  an  exchange  of  chil- 
dren, namely  that  the  boy  should  be  bred  up  with  Leontine  as  his  son, 
and  that  the  girl  should  live  with  Eudoxus  as  his  daughter,  till  they  were 
each  of  them  arrived  at  years  of  discretion.  The  wife  of  Eudoxus,  know- 
ing that  her  son  could  not  be  so  advantageously  brought  up  as  under  the 
care  of  Leontine,  and  considering  at  the  same  time  that  he  would  be 
perpetually  under  her  own  eye,  was  by  degrees  prevailed  upon  to  fall  in 
with  the  project.  She  therefore  took  Leonilla,  for  that  wai .  r  ~  name  of 
the  girl,  and  educated  her  as  her  own  daughter.  The  two  friends  on 
each  side  had  wrought  themselves  to  such  an  habitual  tenderness  for  the 
children  who  were  under  their  direction,  that  each  of  them  had  the  real 
passion  of  a  father,  where  the  title  was  but  imaginary.  Florio,  the  name 
of  the  young  heir  that  lived  with  Leontine,  though  he  had«all  the  duty 
and  affection  imaginable  for  his  supposed  parent,  was  taught  to  rejoice 
at  the  sight  of  Eudoxus,  who  visited  his  friend  very  frequently,  and  was 
dictated  by  his  natural  affection,  as  well  as  by  the  rules  of  prudence,  to 
make  himself  esteemed  and  beloved  by  Florio.  The  boy  was  now  old 
enough  to  know  his  supposed  father's  circumstances,  and  that  therefore 
he  was  to  make  his  way  in  the  world  by  his  own  industry.  This  con- 
sideration grew  stronger  in  him  every  day,  ^nd  produced  so  good  an 
effect,  that  he  applied  himself  with  more  than  ordinary  attention  to  the 
pursuit  of  everything  which  Leontine  recommended  to  him.  His  natural 
abilities,  which  were  very  good,  assisted  by  the  directions  of  so  excellent 
a  counselor,  enabled  him  to  make  a  quicker  progress  than  ordinary 
through  all  the  parts  of  his  education.  Before  he  was  twenty  years  of 
age,  having  finished  his  studies  and  exercises  with  great  applause,  he  was 
removed  from  the  university  to  the  Inns  of  Court,  where  there  are  very 
few  that  make  themselves  considerable  proficients  in  the  studies  of  the 
place,  who  know  they  shall  arrive  at  great  estates  without  them.  This 
was  not  Florio's  case;  he  found  that  three  hundred  a  year  was  but  a 
poor  estate  for  Leontine  and  himself  to  live  upon,  so  that  he  studied 
without  intermission  till  he  gained  a  very  good  insight  into  the  consti- 
tution and  laws  of  his  country. 

I  should  have  told  my  reader,  that  whilst  Florio  lived  at  the  house 
of  his  foster-father  he  was  always  an  acceptable  guest  in  the  family  of 


GREAT  BRITAIN— ADDISON  155 

Eudoxus,  where  he  became  acquainted  with  Leonilla  from  her  infancy. 
His  acquaintance  with  her  by  degrees  grew  into  love,  which  in  a  mind  . 
trained  up  in  all  the  sentiments  of  honor  and  virtue  became  a  very  un- 
easy passion.  He  despaired  of  gaining  an  heiress  of  so  great  a  fortune, 
and  would  rather  have  died  than  attempted  it  by  any  indirect  methods. 
Leonilla,  who  was  a  woman  of  the  greatest  beauty  joined  with  the 
greatest  modesty,  entertained  at  the  same  time  a  secret  passion  for  Florio, 
but  conducted  herself  with  so  much  prudence  that  she  never  gave  him 
the  least  intimation  of  it.  Florio  was  now  engaged  in  all  those  arts  and 
improvements  that  are  proper  to  raise  a  man's  private  fortune,  and  give 
him  a  figure  in  his  country,  but  secretly  tormented  with  that  passion 
which  burns  with  the  greatest  fury  in  a  virtuous  and  noble  heart,  when 
he  received  a  sudden  summons  from  Leontine  to  repair  to  him  in  the 
country  the  next  day.  For  it  seems  Eudoxus  was  so  filled  with  the  report 
of  his  son's  reputation  that  he  could  no  longer  withhold  making  himself 
known  to  him.  The  morning  after  his  arrival  at  the  house  of  his  sup- 
posed father,  Leontine  told  him  that  Eudoxus  had  something  of  great 
importance  to  communicate  to  him;  upon  which  the  good  man  embraced 
him  and  wept.  Florio  was  no  sooner  arrived  at  the  great  house  that  stood 
in  his  neighborhood,  but  Eudoxus  took  him  by  the  hand,  after  the  first 
salutes  were  over,  and  conducted  him  into  his  closet.  He  there  opened 
to  him  the  jvhole  secret  of  his  parentage  and  education,  concluding  after 
this  manner:  I  have  no  other  way  left  of  acknowledging  my  gratitude 
to  Leontine y  than  by  marrying  you  to  his  daughter.  He  shall  not  lose  the 
pleasure  of  being  your  father  by  the  discovery  I  have  made  to  you. 
Leonilla  too  shall  be  still  my  daughter;  her  filial  fiety,  though  mis- 
placed, has  been  so  exemplary  that  it  deserves  the  greatest  reward  I  can 
confer  upon  it.  You  shall  have  the  pleasure  of  seeing  a  great  estate  fall 
to  you,  which  you  would  have  lost  the  relish  of  had  you  known  your- 
self born  to  it.  Continue  only  to  deserve  it  in  the  same  manner  you  did 
before  you  were  possessed  of  it.  I  have  left  your  mother  in  the  next 
room.  Her  heart  yearns  towards  you.  She  is  making  the  same  discoveries 
to  Leonilla  which  I  have  made  to  yourself.  Florio  was  so  overwhelmed 
with  this  profusion  of  happiness,  that  he  was  not  able  to  make  a  reply, 
but  threw  himself  down  at  his  father's  feet,  and  amidst  a  flood  of  tears, 
kissed  and  embraced  his  knees,  asking  his  blessing,  and  expressing  in 
dumb  show  those  Sentiments  of  love,  duty,  and  gratitude  that  were  too 
big  for  utterance.  To  conclude,  the  happy  pair  were  married,  and  half 
Eudoxus*  estate  settled  upon  them.  Leontine  and  Eudoxus  passed  the  re- 
mainder of  their  lives  together;  and  received  in  the  dutiful  and  affec- 
tionate behavior  of  Florio  and  Leonilla  the  just  recompense,  as  well  as 
the  natural  effects,  of  that  care  which  they  had  bestowed  upon  them  in 
their .  education. 


15*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

OLIVER  GOLDSMITH 

(1728-1774) 


GOLDSMITH'S  family  were  Irish  people  of  English  descent.  Oliver 
Goldsmith  was  born  in  County  Longford,  Ireland.  He  went  to 
Trinity  College,  Dublin,  and  after  his  graduation  in  1749,  began 
the  study  of  medicine  at  Edinburgh.  After  a  short  period  in  Scot- 
land he  left  for  the  Continent,  where  he  wandered  from  country 
to  country.  After  his  return  to  London  in  1756  his  early  essays  and 
verses  attracted  the  attention  of  Dr.  Johnson,  and  he  became  a 
member  of  the  illustrious  group  that  gathered  round  that  literary 
monarch.  The  years  between  1759  and  1773  were  the  most  produc- 
tive of  his  entire  career.  The  Vicar  of  Wakefield,  which  is  a  land- 
mark in  the  development  of  prose  fiction,  appeared  in  1766.  Like 
Addison  and  Steele  and  other  of  the  periodical  essayists,  Goldsmith 
wrote  several  short  stories  of  high  merit.  The  Disabled  Soldier  was 
first  printed  in  the  Citizen  of  the  World,  in  1760. 


THE  DISABLED  SOLDIER 
(From  the  Citizen  of  the  World} 

"O  observation  is  more  common,  and  at  the  same  time  more  true, 
than  that  one  half  of  the  world  are  ignorant  how  the  other  half 
lives.  The  misfortunes  of  the  great  are  held  up  to  engage  our  attention; 
are  enlarged  upon  in  tones  of  declamation;  and  the  world  is  called  upon 
to  gaze  at  the  noble  sufferers:  the  great,  under  the  pressure  of  calamity, 
are  conscious  of  several  others  sympathizing  with  their  distress;  and 
have,  at  once,  the  comfort  of  admiration  and  pity.  . 

There  is  nothing  magnanimous  in  bearing  misfortunes  with  fortitude, 
when  the  whole  world  is  looking  on:  men  in  such  circumstances  will  act 
bravely  even  from  motives  of  vanity:  but  he  who,  in  the  vale  of  ob- 
scurity, can  brave  adversity;  who  without  friends  to  encourage,  acquaint- 
ances to  pity,  or  even  without  hope  to  alleviate  his  misfortunes,  can  be- 
have with  tranquillity  and  indifference,  is  truly  great:  whether  peasant 
or  courtier,  he  deserves  admiration,  and  should  be  held  up  for  our  imi- 
tation and  respect  • 


GREAT  BRITAIN—GOLDSMITH  157 

While  the  slightest  inconveniences  of  the  great  are  magnified  into 
calamities;  while  tragedy  mouths  out  their  sufferings  in  all  the  strains 
of  eloquence,  the  miseries  of  the  poor  are  entirely  disregarded;  and  yet 
some  of  the  lower  ranks  of  people  undergo  more  real  hardships  in  one 
day,  than  those  of  a  more  exalted  station  suffer  in  their  whole  lives.  It 
is  inconceivable  what  difficulties  the  meanest  of  our  common  sailors  and 
soldiers  endure  without  murmuring  or  regret;  without  passionately  de- 
claiming against  providence,  or  calling  their  fellows  to  be  gazers  on 
their  intrepidity.  Every  day  is  to  them  a  day  of  misery,  and  yet  they 
entertain  their  hard  fate  without  repining. 

With  what  indignation  do  I  hear  an  Ovid,  a  Cicero,  or  a  Rabutin 
complain  of  their  misfortunes  and  hardships,  whose  greatest  calamity 
was  that  of  being  unable  to  visit  a  certain  spot  of  earth,  to  which  they 
had  foolishly  attached  an  idea  of  happiness.  Their  distresses  were  pleas- 
ures, compared  to  what  many  of  the  adventuring  poor  every  day  endure 
without  murmuring.  They  ate,  drank,  and  slept;  they  had  slaves  to  at- 
tend them,  and  were  sure  of  subsistence  for  life;  while  many  of  their 
fellow  creatures  are  obliged  to  wander  without  a  friend  to  comfort  or 
assist  them,  and  even  without  shelter  from  the  severity  of  the  season. 

I  have  "been  led  into  these  reflections  from  accidentally  meeting,  some 
days  ago,  a  poor  fellow,  whom  I  knew  when  a  boy,  dressed  in  a  sailor's 
jacket,  an<i  begging  at  one  of  the  outlets  of  the  town,  with  a  wooden 
leg.  I  knew  him  to  have  been  honest  and  industrious  when  in  the  coun- 
try, and  was  curious  to  learn  what  had  reduced  him  to  his  present  situa- 
tion. Wherefore,  after  giving  him  what  I  thought  proper,  I  desired  to 
know  the  history  of  his  life  and  misfortunes,  and  the  manner  in  which 
he  was  reduced  to  his  present  distress.  The  disabled  soldier,  for  such  he 
was,  though  dressed  in  a  sailor's  habit,  scratching  his  head,  and  leaning 
on  his  crutch,  put  himself  into  an  attitude  to  comply  with  my  request, 
and  gave  me  his  history  as  follows: 

"As  for  my  misfortunes,  master,  I  can't  pretend  to  have  gone  through 
any  more  than  other  folks;  for,  except  the  loss  of  my  limb,  and  my 
being  obliged  to  beg,  I  don't  know  any  reason,  thank  Heaven,  that  I 
have  to  complain.  There  is  Bill  Tibbs,  of  our  regiment,  he  has  lost  both 
his  legs,  and  an  eye  to  boot;  but,  thank  Heaven,  it  is  not  so  bad  with 
me  yet. 

"I  was  born  in  Shropshire;  my  father  was  a  laborer,  and  died  when 
I  was  five  years  old,  so  I  was  put  upon  the  parish.  As  he  had  been  a 
wandering  sort  of  a  man,  the  parishioners  were  not  able  to  tell  to  what 
parish  I  belonged,  or  where  I  was  born,  so  they  sent  me  to  another  parish, 
and  that  parish  sent  me  to  a  third.  I  thought  in  my  heart,  they  kept 
sending  me  about  so  long,  that  they  would  not  let  me  be  born  in  any 
parish  at  all;  -but  at  last,  however,  they  fixed  me.  I  had  some  disposition 
to  be  a  scholar,  and  was  resolved  at  least  to  know  my  letters:  but  the 


X5&  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

master  of  the  workhouse  put  me  to  business  as  soon  as  I  was  able  to 
handle  a  mallet;  and  here  I  lived  an  easy  kind  of  life  for  five  years. 
I  only  wrought  ten  hours  in  the  day,  and  had  my  meat  and  drink  pro- 
vided for  my  labor.  It  is  true,  I  was  not  suffered  to  stir  out  of  the  house, 
for  fear,  as  they  said,  I  should  run  away;  but  what  of  that?  I  had  the 
liberty  of  the  whole  house,  and  the  yard  before  the  door,  and  that  was 
enough  for  me.  I  was  then  bound  out  to  a  farmer,  where  I  was  up  both 
early  and  late;  but  I  ate  and  drank  well;  and  liked  my  business  well 
enough,  till  he  died,  when  I  was  obliged  to  provide  for  myself;  so  I 
resolved  to  go  seek  my  fortune. 

"In  this  manner  I  went  from  town  to  town,  worked  when  I  could 
get  employment,  and  starved  when  I  could  get  none;  when,  happening 
one  day  to  go  through  a  field  belonging  to  a  justice  of  peace,  I  spied  a 
hare  crossing  the  path  just  before  me;  and  I  believe  the  devil  put  it  into 
my  head  to  fling  my  stick  at  it.  Well,  what  will  you  have  on't?  I  killed 
the  hare,  and  was  bringing  it  away,  when  the  justice  himself  met  me; 
he  called  me  a  poacher  and  a  villain,  and  collaring  me,  desired  I  would 
give  an  account  of  myself.  I  fell  upon  my  knees,  begged  his  worship's 
pardon,  and  began  to  give  a  full  account  of  all  that  I  knew  of  my  breed, 
seed,  and  generation;  but  though  I  gave  a  very  true  account,  the  justice 
said  I  could  give  no  account;  so  I  was  indicted  at  the  sessions,  found 
guilty  of  being  poor,  and  sent  up  to  London  to  Newgate,  in  jrder  to  be 
transported  as  a  vagabond. 

"People  may  say  this  and  that  of  being  in  jail,  but,  for  my  part,  I 
found  Newgate  as  agreeable  a  place  as  ever  I  was  in  in  all  my  life.  I 
had  my  belly  full  to  eat  and  drink,  and  did  no  work  at  all.  This  kind 
of  life  was  too  good  to  last  forever;  so  I  was  taken  out  of  prison,  after 
five  months,  put  on  board  of  ship,  and  sent  off,  with  two  hundred  more, 
to  the  plantations.  We  had  but  an  indifferent  passage,  for  being  all  con- 
fined in  the  hold,  more  than  a  hundred  of  our  people  died  for  want  of 
sweet  air;  and  those  that  remained  were  sickly  enough,  God  knows. 
When  we  came  ashore  we  were  sold  to  the  planters,  and  I  was  bound 
for  seven  years  more.  As  I  was  no  scholar,  for  I  did  not  know  my  let- 
ters, I  was  obliged  to  work  among  the  negroes;  and  I  served  out  my 
time,  as  in  duty  bound  to  do. 

"When  my  time  was  expired,  I  worked  my  passage  home,  and  glad 
I  was  to  see  old  England  again,  because  I  loved  my  country.  I  was 
afraid,  however,  that  I  should  be  indicted  for  a  vagabond  once  more,  so 
did  not  much  care  to  go  down  into  the  country,  but  kept  about  the  town, 
and  did  little  jobs  when  I  could  get  them. 

"I  was  very  happy  in  this  manner  for  some  time  till  one  evening, 
coming  home  from  work,  two  men  knocked  me  down,  and  then  desired 
tne  to  stand.  They  belonged  to  a  press-gang.  I  was  carried  before  the 
Justice,  and  as  I  could  give  no  account  of  myself,  I  had  my  choice  left, 


GREAT  BRITAIN— GOLDSMITH  159 

whether  to  go  on  board  a  man-of-war,  or  list  for  a  soldier.  I  chose  the 
latter,  and  in  this  post  of  a  gentleman,  I  served  two  campaigns  in 
Flanders,  was  at  the  battles  of  Val  and  Fontenoy,  and  received  but  one 
wtfund  through  the  breast  here;  but  the  doctor  of  our  regiment  sootf 
made  me  well  again. 

"When  the  peace  came  on  I  was  discharged;  and  as  I  could  not  work, 
because  my  wound  was  sometimes  troublesome,  I  listed  for  a  landman 
in  the  East  India  Company's  service.  I  have  fought  the  French  in  six 
pitched  battles;  and  I  verily  believe  that  if  I  could  read  or  write,  our 
captain  would  have  made  me  a  corporal.  But  it  was  not  my  good  for- 
tune to  have  any  promotion,  for  I  soon  fell  sick,  and  so  got  leave  to 
return  home  again  with  forty  pounds  in  my  pocket.  This  was  at  the 
beginning  of  the  present  war,  and  I  hoped  to  be  set  on  shore,  and  to 
have  the  pleasure  of  spending  my  money;  but  the  Government  wanted 
men,  and  so  I  was  pressed  for  a  sailor,  before  ever  I  could  set  a  foot 
on  shore. 

"The  boatswain  found  me,  as  he  said,  an  obstinate  fellow:  he  swore 
he  knew  that  I  understood  my  business  well,  but  that  I  shammed  Abra- 
ham, to  be  idle;  but  God  knows,  I  knew  nothing  of  sea-business,  and 
he  beat  me  without  considering  what  he  was  about.  I  had  still,  however, 
my  forty  pounds,  and  that  was  some  comfort  to  me  under  every  beating; 
and  the  money  I  might  have  had  to  this  day,  but  that  our  ship  was  taken 
by  the  French,  and  so  I  lost  all. 

"Our  crew  was  carried  into  Brest,  and  many  of  them  died,  because 
they  were  not  used  to  live  in  a  jail;  but,  for  my  part,  it  was  nothing 
to  me,  for  I  was  seasoned.  One  night,  as  I  was  asleep  on  the  bed  of 
boards,  with  a  warm  blanket  about  me,  for  I  always  loved  to  lie  well, 
I  was  awakened  by  the  boatswain,  who  had  a  dark  lantern  in  his  hand. 
'Jack/  says  he  to  me,  'will  you  knock  out  the  French  sentry's  brains?' 
*I  don't  care/  says  I,  striving  to  keep  myself  awake,  'if  I  lend  a  hand.' 
'Then,  follow  me/  says  he,  'and  I  hope  we  shall  do  business/  So  up  I 
got,  and  tied  my  blanket,  which  was  all  the  clothes  I  had,  about  my 
middle,  and  went  with  him  to  fight  the  Frenchman.  I  hate  the  French, 
because  they  are  all  slaves,  and  wear  wooden  shoes. 

"Though  we  had  no  arms,  one  Englishman  is  able  to  beat  five  French 
at  any  time;  so  we  went  down  to  the  door  where  both  the  sentries  were 
posted,  and  rushing  upon  them,  seized  their  arms  in  a  moment,  and 
knocked  them  down.  From  thence  nine  of  us  ran  together  to  the  quay, 
and  seizing  the  first  boat  we  met,  got  out  of  the  harbor  and  put  to  sea. 
We  had  not  been  here  three  days  before  we  were  taken  up  by  the  Dorset 
privateer,  who  were  glad  of  so  many  good  hands  ^  and  we  consented  to 
run  our  chance.  However,  we  had  not  as  much  luck  as  we  expected.  In 
three  day*  we  fell  in  with  the  Pompadour  privateer  of  forty  guns,  while 
we  had  but  twenty-three,  so  to  it  we  went,  yard-arm  and  yard-arm.  The 


x6o  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

fight  lasted  three  hours,  and  I  verily  believe  we  should  have  taken  the 
Frenchman,  had  we  but  had  some  more  men  left  behind;  but  unfortu- 
nately we  lost  all  our  men  just  as  we  were  going  to  get  the  victory.  . 

"I  was  once  more  in  the  power  of  the  French,  and  I  believe  it  would 
have  gone  hard  with  me  had  I  been  brought  back  to  Brest;  but  by  good 
fortune  we  were  retaken  by  the  Vifer.  I  had  almost  forgotten  to  tell 
you  that  in  that  engagement  I  was  wounded  in  two  places:  I  lost  four 
fingers  off'the  left  hand,  and  my  leg  was  shot  off.  If  I  had  had  the  good 
fortune  to  have  lost  my  leg  and  use  of  my  hand  on  board  a  king's  ship, 
and  not  aboard  a  privateer,  I  should  have  been  entitled  to  clothing  and 
maintenance  during  the  rest  of  my  life;  but  that  was  not  my  chance: 
one  man  is  born  with  a  silver  spoon  in  his  mouth,  and  another  with  a 
wooden  ladle.  However,  blessed  be  God,  I  enjoy  good  health,  and  will 
forever  love  liberty  and  old  England.  Liberty,  property,  and  old  Eng- 
land, forever,  huzza!" 

Thus  saying,  he  limped  off,  leaving  me  in  admiration  at  his  intrepidity 
and  content;  nor  could  I  avoid  acknowledging  that  an  habitual  acquaint- 
ance with  misery  serves  better  than  philosophy  to  teach  us  to  despise  it. 


SIR  WALTER  SCOTT 

• 
(I77I-I832) 

WALTER  SCOTT,  founder  of  the  romantic  historical  novel,  was  bora 
at  Edinburgh  in  1771,  He  entered  his  father's  law  office,  but  be- 
fore long  gave  up  law  for  literature.  His  first  works  were  bal- 
lads and  long  narrative  poems.  In  1814  he  published  the  novel 
Waverley,  which  established  his  position  as  a  writer.  At  the  very 
height  of  his  brilliant  career  he  found  himself  morally  obliged 
to  pay  off  an  enormous  debt,  and  spent  the  rest  of  his  life  trying 
to  do  so.  Scott  wrote  several  short  stories.  The  Bridal  of  Janet 
Dalrymfle,  not  so  well  known  as  the  far  longer  Wandering  Willie's 
Tale  from  Red  gauntlet,  is  a  well-written  and  (for  Scott)  surpris- 
ingly short  and  closely-woven  narrative. 

The  present  edition  is  reprinted  from  the  volume,  Scottish  Love 
Tales,  London,  no  date. 


THE  BRIDAL  OF  JANET  DALRYMPLE 

-1SS  JANET  DALRYMPLE,  daughter  of  the  first  Lord  Stair, 
L  and  Dame  Margaret  Ross,  had  engaged  herself  without  the 
knowledge  of  her  parents  to  the  Lord  Rutherford,  who  was  not  ac- 
ceptable to  them  either  on  account  of  his  political  principles,  or, his  want 


GREAT  BRITAIN— SCOTT          .  161 

of  fortune.  The  young  couple  broke  a  piece  of  gold  together,  and  pledged 
their  troth  in  the  most  solemn  manner;  and  it  is  said  the  young  lady 
imprecated  dreadful  evils  on  herself  should  she  break  her  plighted  faith. 
Shcfrtly  after,  a  suitor  who  was  favored  by  Lord  Stair,  and  still  more 
so  by  his  lady,  paid  his  addresses  to  Miss  Dalrymple.  The  young  lady 
refused  the  proposal,  and  being  pressed  on  the  subject,  confessed  her 
secret  engagement.  Lady  Stair,  a  woman  accustomed  to  universal  sub- 
mission (for  even  her  husband  did  not  dare  to  contradict  her),  treated 
this  objection  as  a  trifle,  and  insisted  upon  her  daughter  yielding  her  con- 
sent to  marry  the  new  suitor,  David  Dunbar,  son  and  heir  to  David 
Dunbar  of  Baldoon,  in  Wigtonshire.  The  first  lover,  a  man  of  very  high 
spirit,  then  interfered  by  letter,  and  insisted  on  the  right  he  had  acquired 
by  his  troth  plighted  with  the  young  lady.  Lady  Stair  sent  him  for  an- 
swer, that  her  daughter,  sensible  of  her  undutiful  behavior  in  entering 
into  a  Contract  unsanctioned  by  her  parents,  had  retracted  her  unlawful 
vow,  and  now  refused  to  fulfil  her  engagement  with  him. 

The  lover  in  return  declined  positively  to  receive  such  an  answer 
from  anyone  but  his  mistress  in  person;  and  as  she  had  to  deal  with  a 
man  who  was  both  of  a  most  determined  character,  and  of  too  high 
condition  to  be  trifled  with,  Lady  Stair  was  obliged  to  consent  to  an 
interview  between  Lord  Rutherford  and  her  daughter.  But  she  took  care 
to  be  presenj  in  person,  and  argued  the  point  with  the  disappointed  and 
incensed  lover  with  pertinacity  equal  to  his  own.  She  particularly  insisted 
on  the  Levitical  law,  which  declares,  that  a  woman  shall  be  free  of  a 
vow  which  her  parents  dissent  from.  This  is  the  passage  of  Scripture 
she  founded  on: 

"If  a  man  vow  a  vow  unto  the  Lord,  or  swear  an  oath  to  bind  his 
soul  with  a  bond;  he  shall  not  break  his  word,  he  shall  do  according  to 
all  that  proceedeth  out  of  his  mouth. 

"If  a  woman  also  vow  a  vow  unto  the  Lord,  and  bind  herself  by  a 
bond,  being  in  her  father's  house  in  her  youth; 

"And  her  father  hear  her  vow,  and  her  bond  wherewith  she  hath 
bound  her  soul,  and  her  father  shall  hold  his  peace  at  her:  then  all  her 
vows  shall  stand,  and  every  bond  wherewith  she  hath  bound  her  soul 
shall  stand.  } 

"But  if  her  father  disallow  her  in  the  day  that  he  heareth;  not  any 
of  her  vows,  or  of  her  bonds  wherewith  she  hath  bound  her  soul,  shall 
stand:  and  the  Lord  shall  forgive  her,  because  her  father  disallowed 
her."— Numbers  xxx.  2,  3,  4,  5. 

While  the  mother  insisted  on  these  topics,  the  lover  in  vain  conjured 
the  daughter  to  declare  her  own  opinion  and  feelings.  She  remained 
totally  overwhelmed,  as  it  seemed — mute,  pale,  and  motionless  as  a 
statue.  Only  at  her  mother's  command,  sternly  uttered,  she  summoned 
strength  enough  to  restore  to  her  plighted  suitor  the  piece  of  broken 


162  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

gold,  which  was  the  emblem  of  her  troth.  On  this  he  burst  forth  into  a 
tremendous  passion,  took  leave  of  the  mother  with  maledictions,  and  as 
he  left  the  apartment,  turned  back  to  say  to  his  weak,  if  not  fickle,  mis- 
tress, "For  you,  madam,  you  will  be  a  world's  wonder";  a  phrase  by 
which  some  remarkable  degree  of  calamity  is  usually  implied.  He  went 
abroad,  and  returned  not  again.  If  the  last  Lord  Rutherford  was  the 
unfortunate  party,  he  must  have  been  the  third  who  bore  that  title,  and 
who  died  in  1685. 

The  marriage  betwixt  Janet  Dalrymple  and  David  Dunbar  of  Bal- 
doon  now  went  forward,  the  bride  showing  no  repugnance,  but  being 
absolutely  passive  in  everything  her  mother  commanded  or  advised.  On 
the  day  of  the  marriage,  which,  as  was  then  usual,  was  celebrated  by 
a  great  assemblage  of  friends  and  relations,  she  was  the  same — sad, 
silent,  and  resigned,  as  it  seemed,  to  her  destiny.  A  lady,  very  nearly 
connected  with  the  family,  told  the  author  that  she  had  conversed  on 
the  subject  with  one  of  the  brothers  of  the  bride,  a  mere  lad  at  the  time, 
who  had  ridden  before  his  sister  to  church.  He  said  her  hand,  which  lay 
on  his  as  she  held  her  arm  round  his  waist,  was  as  cold  and  damp  as 
marble.  But,  full  of  his  new  dress,  and  the  part  he  acted  in  the  pro- 
cession, the  circumstance,  which  he  long  afterwards  remembered  with 
bitter  sorrow  and  compunction,  made  no  impression  on  him  at  the  time. 

The  bridal  feast  was  followed  by  dancing;  the  bride  ar^d  bridegroom 
retired  as  usual,  when  of  a  sudden  the  most  wild  and  piercing  cries  were 
heard  from  the  nuptial  chamber.  It  was  then  the  custom,  to  prevent  any 
coarse  pleasantry  which  old  times  perhaps  admitted,  that  the  key  of  the 
nuptial  chamber  should  be  intrusted  to  the  brideman.  He  was  called 
upon,  but  refused  at  first  to  give  it  up,  till  the  shrieks  became  so  hideous 
that  he  was  compelled  to  hasten  with  others  to  learn  the  cause.  On 
opening  the  door,  they  found  the  bridegroom  lying  across  the  threshold, 
dreadfully  wounded,  and  streaming  with  blood.  The  bride  was  then 
sought  for.  She  was  found  in  the  corner  of  the  large  chimney,  having 
no  covering  save  her  shift,  and  that  dabbled  in  gore.  There  she  sat  grin- 
ning at  them,  mopping  and  mowing,  as  I  heard  the  expression  used;  in 
a  word,  absolutely  insane.  The  only  words  she  spoke  were,  "Tak  up 
your  bonny  bridegroom."  She  survived  this  horrible  scene  little  more 
than  a  fortnight,  having  been  married  on  the  24th  of  August,  and  dying 
on  the  1 2th  of  September,  1669. 

The  unfortunate  Baldoon  recovered  from  his  wounds,  but  sternly 
prohibited  all  inquiries  respecting  the  manner  in  which  he  had  received 
them.  If  a  lady,  he  said,  asked  him  any  question  upon  the  subject,  he 
would  neither  answer  her  nor  speak  to  her  again  while  he  lived;  if  a 
gentleman,  he  would  consider  it  as  a  mortal  affront,  and  demand  satis- 
faction as  having  received  such.  He  did  not  very  long  survive  the  dread- 
ful catastrophe,  having  met  with  a  fatal  injury  by  a  fall  from  his  horse, 


GREAT  BRITAIN— SCOTT  163 

as  he  rode  between  Leith  and  Holyrood  House,  of  which  he  died  the 
next  day,  28th  March,  1682.  Thus  a  few  years  removed  all  the  prin- 
cipal actors  in  this  frightful  tragedy. 

Various  reports  went  abroad  on  this  mysterious  affair,  many  of  them 
very  inaccurate,  though  they  could  hardly  be  said  to  be  exaggerated.  It 
was  difficult  at  that  time  to  become  acquainted  with  the  history  of  a 
Scottish  family  above  the  lower  rank;  and  strange  things  sometimes  took 
place  there,  into  which  even  the  law  did  not  scrupulously  inquire. 

The  credulous  Mr.  Law  says,  generally,  that  the  Lord  President  Stair 
had  a  daughter,  who  "being  married,  the  night  she  was  bride  in  [that 
is,  bedded  bride],  was  taken  from  her  bridegroom  and  harled  [dragged] 
through  the  house  (by  spirits,  we  are  given  to  understand),  and  soon 
afterwards  died.  Another  daughter,"  he  says,  was  "possessed  by  an  evil 
spirit." 

My  friend,  Mr.  Sharpe,  gives  another  edition  of  the  tale.  According 
to  his  information,  it  was  the  bridegroom  who  wounded  the  bride.  The 
marriage,  according  to  this  account,  had  been  against  her  mother's  in- 
clination, who  had  given  her  consent  in  these  ominous  words:  "You 
may  marry  him,  but  soon  shall  you  repent  it." 

I  find  still  another  account  darkly  insinuated  in  some  highly  scur- 
rilous and  abusive  verses.  They  are  docketed  as  being  written  "Upon 
the  late  Vissount  Stair  and  his  family,  by  Sir  William  Hamilton  of 
Whitelaw.  The  marginals  by  William  Dunlop,  writer  in  Edinburgh,  a 
son  of  the  Laird  of  Househill,  and  nephew  to  the  said  Sir  William 
Hamilton."  There  was  a  bitter  and  personal  quarrel  and  rivalry  betwixt 
the  author  of  this  libel,  a  name  which  it  richly  deserves,  and  Lord  Presi- 
dent Stair;  and  the  lampoon,  which  is  written  with  much  more  malice 
than  art,  bears  the  following  motto: 

"Stair's  neck,  mind,  wife,  sons,  grandson,  and  the  rest, 
Are    wry,  false,  witch,  pests,  parricide,    possessed." 

This  malignant  satirist,  who  calls  up  all  the  misfortunes  of  the  fam- 
ily, does  not  forget  the  fatal  bridal  of  Baldoon.  He  seems,  though  his 
verses  are  as  obscure  as  unpoetical,  to  intimate,  that  the  violence  done 
to  the  bridegroom  was  by  the  intervention  of  the  foul  fiend  to  whom 
the  young  lady  had  resigned  herself,  in  case  she  should  break  her  con- 
tract with  her  first  lover.  His  hypothesis  is  inconsistent  with  the  account 
given  in  the  note  upon  Law's  Memorials,  but  easily  reconcilable  to  the 
family  tradition, 

"In  al  Stair's  offspring  we  no  difference  know, 
They  doe  the  females  as  the  males  bestow; 
So  he  of  s  daughter's  marriage  gave  the  ward, 
a  true  vassal,  to  Glenluce's  Laird; 


164  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

He  knew  what  she  did  to  her  suitor  plight. 

If  she  her  faith  to  Rutherfurd  should  slight, 

Which,  like  his  own,  for  greed  he  broke  outright* 

Nick  did  Baldoon 's  posterior  right  deride, 

And,  as  first  substitute,  did  seize  the  bride; 

Whatever  he  to  his  mistress  did  or  said, 

He  threw  the  bridegroom  from  the  nuptial  bed, 

Into  the  chimney  did  so  his  rival  maul, 

His  bruised  bones  ne'er  were  cured  but  by  the  fall." 

One  of  the  marginal  notes  ascribed  to  William  Dunlop  applies  to 
the  above  lines.  "She  had  betrothed  herself  to  Lord  Rutherfoord  under 
horrid  imprecations,  and  afterwards  married  Baldoon,  his  nevoy,  and 
her  mother  was  the  cause  of  her  breach  of  faith." 

The  same  tragedy  is  alluded  to  in  the  following  couplet  and  note: 

"What  train  of  curses  that  base  brood  pursues, 
When  the  young  nephew  wed's  old  uncle's  spouse." 

The  note  on  the  word  uncle  explains  it  as  meaning  "Rutherfoord, 
who  should  have  married  the  Lady  Baldoon,  was  Baldoon's  uncle."  The 
poetry  of  this  satire  on  Lord  Stair  and  his  family  was,  as  already  noticed, 
written  by  Sir  William  Hamilton  of  Whitelaw,  a  rival  of  Lord  Stair 
for  the  situation  of  President  of  the  Court  of  Session;  a  person  much 
inferior  to  that  great  lawyer  in  talents,  and  equally  ill-treated  by  the 
calumny  or  just  satire  of  his  contemporaries,  as  an  unjust  and  partial 
judge.  Some  of  the  notes  are  by  that  curious  and  laborious  antiquary, 
Robert  Milne,  who,  as  a  virulent  Jacobite,  willingly  lent  a  hand  to 
blacken  the  family  of  Stair. 

Another  poet  of  the  period,  with  a  very  different  purpose,  has  left  an 
elegy,  in  which  he  darkly  hints  at  and  bemoans  the  fate  of  the  ill-starred 
young  person,  whose  very  uncommon  calamity  Whitelaw,  Dunlop,  and 
Milne  thought  a  fitting  subject  for  buffoonery  and  ribaldry.  This  bard 
of  milder  mood  was  Andrew  Symson,  before  the  Revolution  minister 
of  Kirkinner,  in  Galloway,  and  after  his  expulsion  as  an  Episcopalian, 
following  the  humble  occupation  of  a  printer  in  Edinburgh.  He  fur- 
nished the  family  of  Baldoon,  with  which  he  appears  to  have  been  in- 
timate, with  an  elegy  on  the  tragic  event  in  their  family.  In  this  piece 
he  treats  the  mournful  occasion  of  the  bride's  death  with  mysterious 
solemnity. 

.  The  verses  bear  this  title — "On  the  unexpected  death  of  the  virtuous 
Lady  Mrs.  Janet  Dalrymple,  Lady  Baldoon,  younger/'  and  afford  us 
the  precise  dates  of  the  catastrophe,  which  could  not  otherwise  have  been 
easily  ascertained.  "Nupta  August  12.  Domum  Ducta  August  24.  Obiit 
September  12.  Sepult.  September  30,  1669."  The  form  of  the  elegy  is 


GREAT  BRITAIN— SCOTT  165 

a  dialogue  betwixt  a  passenger  and  a  domestic  servant.  The  first,  recol- 
lecting that  he  had  passed  that  way  lately,  and  seen  all  around  enlivened 
by  the  appearances  of  mirth  and  festivity,  is  desirous  to  know  what  had 
changed  so  gay  a  scene  into  mourning.  We  preserve  the  reply  of  the 
servant  as  a  specimen  of  Mr.  Symson's  verses,  which  are  not  of  the  first 
quality: 

•  Sir,  'tis  truth  you've  told, 
We  did  enjoy  great  mirth;  but  now,  ah  me! 
Our  joyful  song's  turned  to  an  elegie. 
A  virtuous  lady,  not  long  since  a  bride, 
Was  to  a  hopeful  plant  by  marriage  tied, 
And  brought  home  hither.  We  did  all  rejoice, 
Even  for  her  sake.  But  presently  our  voice 
Was  turn'd  to  mourning  for  that  little  time 
That  she'd  enjoy:  She  waned  in  her  prime, 
For  Atropos,  with  her  impartial  knife, 
Soon  cut  her  thread,  and  therewithal  her  life; 
And  for  the  time  we  may  it  well  remember, 
It  being  in  unfortunate  September; 
Where  we  must  leave  her  till  the  resurrection, 
'Tis  then  the' Saints  enjoy  their  full  perfection/' 


SAMUEL  LOVER 

(i797?-i868) 

SAMUEL  LOVER  was  born  in  Dublin  of  an  English  Protestant  fam- 
ily. He  studied  painting  at  an  early  age,  and  though  he  continued 
to  practise  that  art,  he  soon  discovered  his  talent  for  writing.  Many 
of  his  most  delightful  sketches  of  Irish  life  appeared  in  various 
Dublin  periodicals  in  the  early  thirties.  In  1832  he  published  his 
Legends  and  Stories  of  Ireland,  in  which  The  White  Trout  is 
found.  The  best  known  of  his  novels  is  Handy  Andy. 

The  White  Trout  is  reprinted  from  Yeats'  Irish  Fairy  and  Folk 
Tales;  New  York,  no  date. 


THE  WHITE  TROUT 

was  wanst  upon  a  time,  long  ago,  a  beautiful  lady  that  lived 
JL  in  a  castle  upon  the  lake  beyant,  and  they  say  she  was  promised  to 
a  king's  son,  and  they  wor  to  be  married,  when  all  of  a  sudden  he  was 
murthered,  the  crathur  (Lord  help  us),  and  threwn  into  the  lake  above, 


166  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

and  so,  of  course,  he  couldn't  keep  his  promise  to  the  fairy  lady — and 
more's  the  pity. 

Well,  the  story  goes  that  she  went  out  iv  her  mind,  bekase  av  loosin' 
the  king's  son — for  she  was  tendher-hearted,  God  help  her,  like  the  rest 
iv  us! — and  pined  away  after  him,  until  at  last,  no  one  about  seen  her, 
good  or  bad;  and  the  story  wint  that  the  fairies  took  her  away. 

Well,  sir,  in  coorse  o'  time,  the  White  Throut,  God  bless  it,  was  seen 
in  the  sthrame  beyant,  and  sure  the  people  didn't  know  what  to  think  av 
the  crathur,  seein'  as  how  a  white  throut  was  never  heard  av  afor,  nor 
since;  and  years  upon  years  the  throut  was  there,  just  where  you  seen  it 
this  blessed  minit,  longer  nor  I  can  tell — aye  throth,  and  beyant  the 
memory  o'  th'  ouldest  in  the  village. 

At  last  the  people  began  to  think  it  must  be  a  fairy;  for  what  else 
could  it  be? — and  no  hurt  nor  harm  was  iver  put  an  the  white  throut, 
until  some  wicked  sinners  of  sojers  kem  to  these  parts,  and  laughed  at 
all  the  people,  and  gibed  and  jeered  them  for  thinkin'  o'  the  likes;  and 
one  o'  them  in  partic'lar  (bad  luck  to  him;  God  forgi'  me  for  saying 
it!)  swore  he'd  catch  the  throut  and  ate  it  for  his  dinner — the  black- 
guard! 

Well,  what  would  you  think  o'  the  villainy  of  the  sojer?  Sure  enough 
he  cotch  the  throut,  and  away  wid  him  home,  and  puts  an  the  fryin'- 
pan,  and  into  it  he  pitches  the  purty  little  thing.  The  thjymt  squeeled 
all  as  one  as  a  Christian  crathur,  and,  my  dear,  you'd  think  the  sojer 
id  split  his  sides  laughin' — for  he  was  a  harden'd  villain;  and  when  he 
thought  one  side  was  done,  he  turns  it  over  to  fry  the  other;  and,  what 
would  you  think,  but  the  divil  a  taste  of  a  burn  was  an  it  at  all  at  all; 
and  sure  the  sojer  thought  it  was  a  quare  throut  that  could  not  be  briled. 
"But,"  says  he,  "I'll  give  it  another  turn  by  and  by,"  little  thinkin' 
what  was  in  store  for  him,  the  haythen. 

Well,  when  he  thought  that  side  was  done  he  turns  it  agin,  and  lo 
and  behold  you,  the  divil  a  taste  more  done  that  side  was  nor  the  other. 
"Bad  luck  to  me,"  says  the  sojer,  "but  that  bates  the  world,"  says  he; 
"but  I'll  thry  you  agin,  my  darlint,"  says  he,  "as  cunnin'  as  you  think 
yourself";  and  so  with  that  he  turns  it  over  and  over,  but  not  a  sign  of 
the  fire  was  on  the  purty  throut.  "Well,"  says  the  desperate  villain — 
(for  sure,  sir,  only  he  was  a  desperate  villain  entirely y  he  might  know 
he  was  doing  a  wrong  thing,  seein'  that  all  his  endeavors  was  no  good) 
— "Well,"  says  he,  "my  jolly  little  throut,  maybe  you're  fried  enough, 
though  you  don't  seem  over  well  dress'd;  but  you  may  be  better  than 
you  look,  like  a  singed  cat,  and  a  tit-bit  afther  all,"  says  he;  and  with 
that  he  ups  with  his  knife  and  fork  to  taste  a  piece  o*  the  throut;  but, 
my  jew9!,  the  minit  he  puts  his  knife  into  the  fish,  there  was  a  murtherin* 
screech,  that  you'd  think  the  life  id  lave  you  if  you  hurd  it,  and  away 
jumps  die  throut  out  av  the  fryin'-pan  into  the  middle  o'  the  flure;  and 


GREAT  BRITAIN— LOVER  167 

an  the  spot  where  it  fell,  up  riz  a  lovely  lady — the  beau ti fullest  crathur 
that  eyes  ever  seen,  dressed  in  white,  and  a  band  o'  goold  in  her  hair,  and 
a  sthrame  o*  blood  runnin'  down  her  arm. 

<rLook  where  you  cut  me,  you  villain,"  says  she,  and  she  held  out  her 
arm  to  him — and,  my  dear,  he  thought  the  sight  id  lave  his  eyes. 

"Couldn't  you  lave  me  cool  and  comfortable  in  the  river  where  you 
snared  me,  and  not  disturb  me  in  my  duty?"  says  she. 

Well,  he  thrimbled  like  a  dog  in  a  wet  sack,  and  at  last  he  stammered 
but  something  and  begged  for  his  life,  and  ax'd  her  ladyship's  pardin, 
and  said  he  didn't  know  she  was  on  duty,  or  he  was  too  good  a  sojer  not 
to  know  betther  nor  to  meddle  wid  her. 

"I  was  on  duty,  then,"  says  the  lady;  "I  was  watchin*  for  my  true 
love  that  is  comin'  by  wather  to  me,"  says  she,  "an*  if  he  comes  while 
I'm  away,  an*  that  I  miss  iv  him,  I'll  turn  you  into  a  pinkeen,  and  I'll 
hunt  you  up  and  down  for  evermore,  while  grass  grows  or  wather  runs." 

Well,  the  sojer  thought  the  life  id  lave  him,  at  the  thoughts  iv  his 
bein'  turned  into  a  pinkeen,  and  begged  for  mercy;  and  with  that  says 
the  lady: 

"Renounce  your  evil  coorses,"  says  she,  "you  villain,  or  you'll  'repint 
it  too  late?  be  a  good  man  for  the  futhur,  and  go  to  your  duty  reg'lar, 
and  now,"  says  she,  "take  me  back  and  put  me  into  the  river  again, 
where  you  Sound  me." 

"Oh,  my  lady,"  says  the  sojer,  "how  could  I  have  the  heart  to  drownd 
a  beautiful  lady  like  you?" 

But  before  he  could  say  another  word,  the  lady  was  vanished,  and 
there  he  saw  the  little  throut  an  the  ground.  Well,  he  put  it  in  a  clean 
plate,  and  away  he  runs  for  the  bare  life,  for  fear  her  lover  would 
come  while  she  was  away;  and  he  run,  and  he  run,  even  till  he  came  to 
the  cave  agin,  and  threw  the  throut  into  the  river.  The  minit  he  did, 
the  wather  was  as  red  as  blood  for  a  little  while,  by  rayson  av  the  cut, 
I  suppose,  until  the  sthrame  washed  the  stain  away;  and  to  this  day 
there's  a  little  red  mark  an  the  throut's  side,  where  it  was  cut. 

Well,  sir,  from  that  day  out  the  sojer  was  an  altered  man,  and  re- 
formed his  ways,  and  went  to  his  duty  reg'lar,  and  fasted  three  times 
a  week — though  it  was  never  fish  he  tuk  an  fastin'  days,  for  afther  the 
fright  he  got,  fish  id  never  rest  an  his  stomach — savin'  your  presence. 

But  anyhow,  he  was  an  altered  man,  as  I  said  before,  and  in  coorse 
o'  time  he  left  the  army,  and  turned  hermit  at  last;  and  they  say  he 
used  to  fray  evermore  for  the  soul  of  the  White  Throut. 


168  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

CHARLES  DICKENS 

(1812-1870) 

THE  son  of  a  government  clerk,  Charles  Dickens  was  born  at 
Portsea  in  1812.  His  family  moved  to  London  shortly  after  his 
birth.  The  early  London  life  of  the  Dickens  family  was  utilized 
in  several  of  the  son's  novels,  especially  in  David  Cofferfield. 
His  first  great  success  was  with  the  Pickwick  Pafers,  which  ap- 
peared serially  in  1836.  Then  followed  the  novels  which  have 
become  celebrated  and  are  read  the  world  over.  Dickens  was  an 
indefatigable  writer,  editor  an$,  later  in  life,  a  public  reader.  He 
wrote  a  number  of  short  stories,  of  which  The  Old  Man's  Tale 
of  the  Queer  Client  is  probably  the  most  skilfully  constructed  and 
best  written.  It  is  related  by  one  of  the  characters  in  the  Pick- 
wick Papers. 


THE  OLD  MAN'S  TALE  OF  THE  QUEER  CLIENT 

Ct 

(From  the  Pickwick  Papers) 

"TTT  matters  little,"  said  the  old  man,  "where,  or  how,  I  picked  up 
JL  this  brief  history.  If  I  were  to  relate  it  in  the  order  in  which  it 
reached  me,  I  should  commence  in  the  middle,  and  when  I  had  arrived 
at  the  conclusion,  go  back  for  a  beginning.  It  is  enough  for  me  to  say 
that  some  of  its  circumstances  passed  before  my  own  eyes.  For  the 
remainder  I  know  them  to  have  happened,  and  there  are  some  persons 
yet  living  who  will  remember  them  but  too  well. 

"In  the  Borough  High  Street,  near  St.  George's  Church,  and  on  the 
same  side  of  the  way,  stands,  as  most  people  know,  the  smallest  of  our 
debtors'  prisons,  the  Marshalsea.  Although  in  later  times  it  has  been  a 
very  different  place  from  the  sink  of  filth  and  dirt  it  once  was,  even  its 
improved  condition  holds  out  but  little  temptation  to  the  extravagant, 
or  consolation  to  the  provident.  The  condemned  felon  has  as  good  a  yard 
for  air  and  exercise  in  Newgate,  as  the  insolvent  debtor  in  the  Marshal- 
sea  Prison. 

"It  may  be  my  fancy,  or  it  may  be  that  I  cannot  separate  the  place 
from  the  old  recollections  associated  with  it,  but  this  part  of  London  I 
cannot  bean  The  street  is  broad,  the  shops  are  spacious,  the  noise  of  pass- 
ing vehicles,  the  footsteps  of  a  perpetual  stream  of  people— all  the  busy 


GREAT  BRITAIN— DICKENS  169 

sounds  of  traffic,  resound  in  it  from  morn  to  midnight,  but  the  streets 
around  are  mean  and  close;  poverty  and  debauchery  lie  festering  in  the 
crowded  alleys;  want  and  misfortune  are  pent  up  in  the  narrow  prison; 
an  air  of  gloom  and  dreariness  seems,  in  my  eyes  at  least,  to  hang  about 
the  scene,  and  to  impart  to  it  a  squalid  and  sickly  hue. 

"Many  eyes,  that  have  long  since  been  closed  in  the  grave,  have  looked 
round  upon  that  scene  lightly  enough,  when  entering  the  gate  of  the 
old  Marshalsea  Prison  for  the  first  time:  for  despair  seldom  comes  with 
the  first  severe  shock  of  misfortune.  A  man  has  confidence  in  untried 
friends,  he  remembers  the  many  offers  of  service  so  freely  made  by  his 
boon  companions  when  he  wanted  them  not;  he  has  hope — the  hope  of 
happy  inexperience — and  however  he  may  bend  beneath  the  first  shock, 
it  springs  up  in  his  bosom,  and  flourishes  there  for  a  brief  space,  until  it 
droops  beneath  the  blight  of  disappointment  and  neglect.  How  soon  have 
those  same  eyes,  deeply  sunken  in  the  head,  glared  from  faces  wasted 
with  famine,  and  sallow  from  confinement,  in  days  when  it  was  no 
figure  of  speech  to  say  that  debtors  rotted  in  prison,  with  no  hope  of 
release,  and  no  prospect  of  liberty!  The  atrocity  in  its  full  extent  no 
longer  exists,  but  there  is  enough  of  it  left  to  give  rise  to  occurrences 
that  make'the  heart  bleed. 

"Twenty  years  ago,  that  pavement  was  worn  with  the  footsteps  of  a 
mother  and  phild,  who,  day  by  day,  so  surely  as  the  morning  came,  pre- 
sented themselves  at  the  prison  gate;  often,  after  a  night  of  restless 
misery  and  anxious  thoughts,  were  they  there,  a  full  hour  too  soon,  and 
then  the  young  mother  turning  meekly  away,  would  lead  the  child  to 
the  old  bridge,  and  raising  him  in  her  arms  to  show  him  the  glistening 
water,  tinted  with  the  light  of  the  morning's  sun,  and  stirring  with  all 
the  bustling  preparations  for  business  and  pleasure  that  the  river  pre- 
sented at  that  early  hour,  endeavor  to  interest  his  thoughts  in  the  objects 
before  him.  But  she  would  quickly  set  him  down,  and,  hiding  her  face 
in  her  shawl,  give  vent  to  the  tears  that  blinded  her;  for  no  expression 
of  interest  or  amusement  lighted  up  his  thin  and  sickly  face.  His  recol- 
lections were  few  enough,  but  they  were  all  of  one  kind:  all  connected 
with  the  poverty  and  misery  of  his  parents.  Hour  after  hour  had  he  sat 
on  his  mother's  knee,  and  with  childish  sympathy  watched  the  tears  that 
stole  down  her  face,  and  then  crept  quietly  away  into  some  dark  corner, 
and  sobbed  himself  to  sleep.  The  hard  realities  of  the  world,  with  many 
of  its  worst  privations — hunger  and  thirst,  and  cold  and  want — had  all 
come  home  to  him,  from  the  first  dawnings  of  reason;  and  though  the 
form  of  childhood  was  there,  its  light  heart,  its  merry  laugh,  and 
sparkling  eyes,  were  wanting. 

"The  father  and  mother  looked  on  upon  this,  and  upon  each  other, 
with  thoughts  of  agony  they  dared  not  breathe  in  words.  The  healthy, 
strong-made  man,  who  could  have  borne  almost  any  fatigue  of  active 


i?o  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

exertion,  was  wasting  beneath  the  close  confinement  and  unhealthy  at- 
mosphere of  a  crowded  prison.  The  slight  and  delicate  woman  was  sink- 
ing beneath  the  combined  effects  of  bodily  and  mental  illness.  The 
child's  young  heart  was  breaking. 

"Winter  came,  and  with  it  weeks  of  cold  and  heavy  rain.  The  poor 
girl  had  removed  to  a  wretched  apartment  close  to  the  spot  of  her  hus- 
band's imprisonment;  and  though  the  change  had  been  rendered  neces- 
sary by  their  increasing  poverty,  she  was  happier  now,  for  she  was  nearer 
him.  For  two  months,  she  and  her  little  companion  watched  the  opening 
of  the  gate  as  usual.  One  day  she  failed  to  come,  for  the  first  time. 
Another  morning  arrived,  and  she  came  alone.  The  child  was  dead. 

"They  little  know,  who  coldly  talk  of  the  poor  man's  bereavements, 
as  a  happy  release  from  pain  to  the  departed,  and  a  merciful  relief  from 
expense  to  the  survivor — they  little  know,  I  say,  what  the  agony  of  those 
bereavements  is.  A  silent  look  of  affection  and  regard  when  all  other 
eyes  are  turned  coldly  away — the  consciousness  that  we  possess  the  sym- 
pathy and  affection  of  one  being  when  all  others  have  deserted  us — is 
a  hold,  a  stay,  a  comfort,  in  the  deepest  affliction,  which  no  wealth  could 
purchase,  or  power  bestow.  The  child  had  sat  at  his  parents'  feet  for 
hours  together,  with  his  little  hands  patiently  folded  in  each  other,  and 
his  thin  wan  face  raised  towards  them.  They  had  seen  him  pine  away, 
from  day  to  day;  and  though  his  brief  existence  had  been  a  joyless  one, 
and  he  was  now  removed  to  that  peace  and  rest  which,  child  as  he  was, 
he  had  never  known  in  this  world,  they  were  his  parents,  and  his  loss 
sunk  deep  into  their  souls. 

"It  was  plain  to  those  who  looked  upon  the  mother's  altered  face,  that 
death  must  soon  close  the  scene  of  her  adversity  and  trial.  Her  husband's 
fellow-prisoners  shrank  from  obtruding  on  his  grief  and  misery,  and 
left  to  himself  alone  the  small  room  he  had  previously  occupied  in 
common  with  two  companions.  She  shared  it  with  him:  and  lingering 
on  without  pain,  but  without  hope,  her  life  ebbed  slowly  away. 

"She  had  fainted  one  evening  in  her  husband's  arms,  and  he  had  borne 
her  to  the  open  window,  to  revive  her  with  the  air,  when  the  light  of 
the  moon  falling  full  upon  her  face  showed  him  a  change  upon  her 
features,  which  made  him  stagger  beneath  her  weight,  like  a  helpless 
infant. 

"  *Set  me  down,  George,'  she  said  faintly.  He  did  so,  and  seating  him- 
self beside  her,  covered  his  face  with  his  hands,  and  burst  into  tears. 

"  *It  is  very  hard  to  leave  you,  George,'  she  said,  'but  it  is  God's  will, 
and  you  must  bear  it  for  my  sake.  Oh!  how  I  thank  Him  for  having 
taken  our  boy!  He  is  happy,  and  in  Heaven  now.  What  would  he  have 
done  here  without  his  mother!' 

"  'You  shall  not  die,  Mary,  you  shall  not  die!'  said  the  husband,  start- 
ing up.  He  paced  hurriedly  to  and  fro,  striking  his  head  with  his  clenched 


GREAT  BRITAIN— DICKENS  171 

fists;  then  reseating  himself  beside  her,  and  supporting  her  in  his  arms, 
added  more  calmly,  'Rouse  yourself,  my  dear  girl.  Pray,  pray  do*  You 
will  revive  yet/ 

<MNever  again,  George;  never  again,'  said  the  dying  woman.  'Let 
them  lay  me  by  my  poor  boy  now,  but  promise  me  that  if  ever  you  leave 
this  dreadful  place,  and  should  grow  rich,  you  will  have  us  removed  to 
some  quiet  country  churchyard,  a  long,  long  way  off — very  far  from 
here,  where  we  can  rest  in  peace.  Dear  George,  promise  me  you  will.' 

"  'I  do,  I  do,1  said  the  man  throwing  himself  passionately  on  his  knees 
before  her.  'Speak  to  me,  Mary,  another  word;  one  look — but  one!' 

"He  ceased  to  speak:  for  the  arm  that  clasped  his  neck  grew  stiff  and 
heavy.  A  deep  sigh  escaped  from  the  wasted  form  before  him;  the  lips 
moved,  and  a  smile  played  upon  the  face;  but  the  lips  were  pallid,  and 
the  smile  faded  into  a  rigid  and  ghastly  stare.  He  was  alone  in  the 
world. 

"That  night,  in  the  silence  and  desolation  of  his  miserable  room,  the 
wretched  man  knelt  down  by  the  dead  body  of  his  wife,  and  called  on 
God  to  witness  a  terrible  oath,  that  from  that  hour  he  devoted  himself 
to  revenge  her  death  and  that  of  his  child;  that  thenceforth  to  the  last 
moment  pf  his  life,  his  whole  energies  should  be  directed  to  this  one 
object;  that  his  revenge  should  be  protracted  and  terrible;  that  his  hatred 
should  be  undying  and  inextinguishable;  and  should  hunt  its  object 
through  the  world. 

"The  deepest  despair,  and  passion  scarcely  human,  had  made  such 
fierce  ravages  on  his  face  and  form,  in  that  one  night,  that  his  com- 
panions in  misfortune  shrunk  affrighted  from  him  as  he  passed  by.  His 
eyes  were  bloodshot  and  heavy,  his  face  a  deadly  white,  and  his  body  bent 
as  if  with  age.  He  had  bitten  his  under  lip  nearly  through  in  the  violence 
of  his  mental  suffering,  and  the  blood  which  had  flowed  from  the  wound 
had  trickled  down  his  chin,  and  stained  his  shirt  and  neckerchief.  No 
tear  or  sound  of  complaint  escaped  him:  but  the  unsettled  look,  and  dis- 
ordered haste  with  which  he  paced  up  and  down  the  yard,  denoted  the 
fever  which  was  burning  within. 

"It  was  necessary  that  his  wife's  body  should  be  removed  from  the 
prison,  without  delay.  He  received  the  communication  .with  perfect  calm- 
ness, and  acquiesced  in  its  propriety.  Nearly  all  the  inmates  of  the  prison 
had  assembled  to  witness  its  removal;  they  fell  back  on  either  side  when 
the  widower  appeared;  he  walked  hurriedly  forward,  and  stationed  him- 
self, alone,  in  a  little  railed  area  close  to  the  lodge  gate,  from  whence 
the  crowd,  with  an  instinctive  feeling  of  delicacy,  had  retired.  The  rude 
coffin  was  borne  slowly  forward  on  men's  shoulders.  A  dead  silence  per- 
vaded the  throng,  broken  only  by  the  audible  lamentations  of  the  women, 
and  the  shuffling  steps  of  the  bearers  on  the  stone  pavement.  They  reached 
the  spot  where  the  bereaved  husband  stood:  and  stopped.  He  laid  his 


172  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

hand  upon  the  coffin,  and  mechanically  adjusting  the  pall  with  which 
it  was  covered,  motioned  them  onward.  The  turnkeys  in  the  prison  lobby 
took  off  their  hats  as  it  passed  through,  and  in  another  moment  the  heavy 
gate  closed  behind  it.  He  looked  vacantly  upon  the  crowd,  and  fell 
heavily  to  the  ground. 

"Although  for  many  weeks  after  this  he  was  watched,  night  and 
day,  in  the  wildest  ravings  of  fever,  neither  the  consciousness  of  his 
loss,  nor  the  recollection  of  the  vow  he  had  made,  ever  left  him  for  a 
moment.  Scenes  changed  before  his  eyes,  place  succeeded  place,  and  event 
followed  event,  in  all  the  hurry  of  delirium;  but  they  were  all  connected 
in  some  way  with  the  great  object  of  his  mind.  He  was  sailing  over  a 
boundless  expanse  of  sea,  with  a  blood-red  sky  above,  and  the  angry 
waters,  lashed  into  fury  beneath,  boiling  and  eddying  up  on  every  side. 
There  was  another  vessel  before  them,  toiling  and  laboring  in  the  howl- 
ing storm:  her  canvas  fluttering  in  ribbons  from  the  mast,  and  her  deck 
thronged  with  figures  who  were  lashed  to  the  sides,  over  which  huge 
waves  every  instant  burst,  sweeping  away  some  devoted  creatures  into  the 
foaming  sea.  Onward  they  bore,  amidst  the  roaring  mass  of  water,  with 
a  speed  and  force  which  nothing  could  resist;  and  striking  the  stern  of 
the  foremost  vessel,  crushed  her  beneath  their  keel.  From  the  huge 
whirlpool  which  the  sinking  wreck  occasioned,  arose  a  shriek  so  loud 
and  shrill — the  death-cry  of  a  hundred  drowning  creatures,  blended  into 
one  fierce  yell — that  it  rung  far  above  the  war-cry  of  the  e'fements,  and 
echoed  and  reechoed  till  it  seemed  to  pierce  air,  sky,  and  ocean.  But 
what  was  that — that  old  gray  head  that  rose  above  the  water's  surface, 
and  with  looks  of  agony,  and  screams  for  aid,  buffeted  with  the  waves! 
One  look,  and  he  had  sprung  from  the  vessel's  side,  and  with  vigorous 
strokes  was  swimming  towards  it.  He  reached  it;  he  was  close  upon  it. 
They  were  his  features.  The  old  man  saw  him  coming,  and  vainly  strove 
to  elude  his  grasp.  But  he  clasped  him  tight,  and  dragged  him  beneath 
the  water.  Down,  down  with  him,  fifty  fathoms  down;  his  struggles 
grew  fainter  and  fainter,  until  they  wholly  ceased.  He  was  dead;  he 
had  killed  him,  and  had  kept  his  oath. 

"He  was  traversing  the  scorching  sands  of  a  mighty  desert,  barefooted 
and  alone.  The  sajid  choked  and  blinded  him;  its  fine  thin  grains  entered 
the  very  pores  of  his  skin,  and  irritated  him  almost  to  madness.  Gigantic 
masses  of  the  same  material,  carried  forward  by  the  wind,  and  shone 
through  by  the  burning  sun,  stalked  in  the  distance  like  pillars  of  living 
fire.  The  bones  of  men,  who  had  perished  in  the  dreary  waste,  lay  scat- 
tered at  his  feet;  a  fearful  light  fell  on  everything  around;  so  far  as 
the  eye  could  reach,  nothing  but  objects  of  dread  and  horror  presented 
themselves.  Vainly  striving  to  utter  a  cry  of  terror,  with  his  tongue 
cleaving  to  his  mouth,  he  rushed  madly  forward.  Armed  with  super- 
natural strength,  he  waded  through  die  sand,  until  exhausted  with 


GREAT  BRITAIN— DICKENS  173 

fatigue  and  thirst,  he  fell  senseless  on  the  earth.  What  fragrant  coolness 
revived  him;  what  gushing  sound  was  that?  Water!  It  was  indeed  a 
well;  and  the  clear  fresh  stream  was  running  at  his  feet.  He  drank 
deeply  of  it,  and  throwing  his  aching  limbs  upon  the  bank,  sank  into  a 
delicious  trance.  The  sound  of  approaching  footsteps  aroused  him.  An 
old  gray-headed  man  tottered  forward  to  slake  his  burning  thirst.  It  was 
he  again!  He  wound  his  arms  round  the  old  man's  body,  and  held  him 
back.  He  struggled,  and  shrieked  for  water,  for  but  one  drop  of  water 
to  save  his  life!  But  he  held  the  old  man  firmly,  and  watched  his  agonies 
with  greedy  eyes;  and  when  his  lifeless  head  fell  forward  on  his  bosom, 
he  rolled  the  corpse  from  him  with  his  feet. 

"When  the  fever  left  him,  and  consciousness  returned,  he  awoke  to 
find  himself  rich  and  free:  to  hear  that  the  parent  who  would  have  let 
him  die  in  jail — would!  who  had  let  those  who  were  far  dearer  to  him 
than  his  own  existence  die  of  want  and  sickness  of  heart  that  medicine 
cannot  cure — had  been  found  dead  on  his  bed  of  down.  He  had  had  all 
the  heart  to  leave  his  son  a  beggar,  but  proud  even  of  his  health  and 
strength,  had  put  off  the  act  till  it  was  too  late,  and  now  might  gnash 
his  teeth  in  the  other  world,  at  the  thought  of  the  wealth  his  remissness 
had  left  him.  He  awoke  to  this,  and  he  awoke  to  more.  To  recollect  the 
purpose  for  which  he  lived,  and  to  remember  that  his  enemy  was  his 
wife's  own  father — the  man  who  had  cast  him  into  prison,  and  who, 
when  his  daughter  and  her  child  sued  at  his  feet  for  mercy,  had  spurned 
them  from  his  door.  Oh,  how  he  cursed  the  weakness  that  prevented  him 
from  being  up,  and  active,  in  his  scheme  of  vengeance! 

"He  caused  himself  to  be  carried  from  the  scene  of  his  loss  and  misery, 
and  conveyed  to  a  quiet  residence  on  the  sea  coast,  not  in  the  hope  of 
recovering  his  peace  of  mind  or  happiness,  for  both  were  fled  forever; 
but  to  restore  his  prostrate  energies,  and  meditate  on  his  darling  object. 
And  here,  some  evil  spirit  cast  in  his  way  the  opportunity  for  his  first, 
most  horrible  revenge. 

"It  was  summer-time;  and  wrapped  in  his  gloomy  thoughts,  he  would 
issue  from  his  solitary  lodgings  early  in  the  evening,  and  wandering 
along  a  narrow  path  beneath  the  cliffs,  to  a  wild  and  lonely  spot  that 
had  struck  his  fancy  in  his  ramblings,  seat  himself  on  some  fallen  frag- 
ment of  the  rock,  and  burying  his  face  in  his  hands,  remain  there  for 
hours — sometimes  until  night  had  completely  closed  in,  and  the  long 
shadows  of  the  frowning  cliffs  above  his  head  cast  a  thick  black  dark- 
ness on  every  object  near  him. 

"He  was  seated  here,  one  calm  evening,  in  his  old  position,  now  and 
then  raising  his  head  to  watch  the  flight  of  a  sea-gull,  or  carry  his  eye 
along  the  glorious  crimson  path,  which,  commencing  in  the  middle  of 
the  ocean,  seemed  to  lead  to  its  very  verge  where  the  sun  was  setting, 
when  the  profound  stillness  of  the  spot  was  broken  by  a  loud  cry  for 


174  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

help;  he  listened,  doubtful  of  his  having  heard  aright,  when  the  Cry 
wds  repeated  with  even  greater  vehemence  than  before,  and  starting  to 
his  feet,  he  hastened  in  the  direction  whence  it  proceeded. 

"The  tale  told  itself  at  once;  some  scattered  garments  lay  on  < the 
beach;  a  human  head  was  just  visible  above  the  waves  at  a  little  distance 
from  the  shore;  and  an  old  man,  wringing  his  hands  in  agony,  was  run- 
ning to  and  fro,  shrieking  for  assistance.  The  invalid,  whose  strength 
was  now  sufficiently  restored,  threw  off  his  coat,  and  rushed  towards  the 
sea,  with  the  intention  of  plunging  in,  and  dragging  the  drowning  man 
ashore. 

"'Hasten  here,  sir,  in  God's  name;  help,  help,  sir,  for  the  love  of 
Heaven.  He  is  my  son,  sir,  my  only  son!'  said  the  old  man,  frantically, 
as  he  advanced  to  meet  him.  'My  only  son,  sir,  and  he  is  dying  before 
his  father's  eyes!' 

"At  the  first  word  the  old  man  uttered,  the  stranger  checked  himself 
in  his  career,  and,  folding  his  arms,  stood  perfectly  motionless. 
"  'Great  God!'  exclaimed  the  old  man,  recoiling.  'Heyling!' 
"The  stranger  smiled,  and  was  silent. 

"'Heyling!'  said  the  old  man,  wildly:  'My  boy,  Heyling,  my  dear 
boy,  look,  look!'  Gasping  for  breath,  the  miserable  father  pointed  to  the 
spot  where  the  young  man  was  struggling  for  life. 

"'Hark!'  said  the  old  man.  'He  cries  once  more.  He  is  alive  yet. 
Heyling,  save  him,  save  him!'  * 

"The  stranger  smiled  again,  and  remained  immovable  as  a  statue. 
"  'I  have  wronged  you,'  shrieked  the  old  man,  falling  on  his  knees, 
and  clasping  his  hands  together.  'Be  revenged;  take  my  all,  my  life;  cast 
me  into  the  water  at  your  feet,  and,  if  human  nature  can  repress  a 
struggle,  I  will  die,  without  stirring  hand  or  foot.  Do  it,  Heyling,  do 
it,  but  save  my  boy;  he  is  so  young,  Heyling,  so  young  to  die!' 

"  'Listen,'  said  the  stranger,  grasping  the  old  man  fiercely  by  the 
wrist:  *I  will  have  life  for  life,  and  here  is  ONE.  My  child  died,  before 
his  father's  eyes,  a  far  more  agonizing  and  painful  death  than  that  young 
slanderer  of  his  sister's  worth  is  meeting  while  I  speak.  You  laughed— 
laughed  in  your  daughter's  face,  where  death  had  already  set  his  hand — 
at  our  sufferings,  then.  What  do  you  think  of  them  now?  See  there,  see 
there!' 

"As  the  stranger  spoke,  he  pointed  to  the  sea.  A  faint  cry  died  away 
upon  its  surface;  the  last  powerful  struggle  of  the  dying  man  agitated 
the  rippling  waves  for  a  few  seconds:  and  the  spot  where  he  had  gone 
down  into  his  early  grave  was  indistinguishable  from  the  surrounding 
water. 

"Three  year's  had  elapsed,  when  a  gentleman  alighted  from  a  private 
carriage  at  the  door  of  a  London  attorney,  then  well  known  as  a  man 


GREAT  BRITAIN— DICKENS  175 

of  no  great  nicety  in  his  professional  dealings;  and  requested  a  private 
interview  on  business  of  importance.  Although  evidently  not  past  the 
prime  of  life,  his  face  was  pale,  haggard,  and  dejected;  and  it  did  not 
require  the  acute  perception  of  the  man  of  business,  to  discern  at  a 
glance  that  disease  or  suffering  had  done  more  to  work  a  change  in  his 
appearance  than  the  mere  hand  of  time  could  have  accomplished  in  twice 
the  period  of  his  whole  life. 

"  'I  wish  you  to  undertake  some  legal  business  for  me,'  said  the 
stranger. 

"The  attorney  bowed  obsequiously,  and  glanced  at  a  larger  packet 
which  the  gentleman  carried  in  his  hand.  His  visitor  observed  the  look, 
and  proceeded: 

"  'It  is  no  common  business,'  said  he,  cnor  have  these  papers  reached 
my  hands  without  long  trouble  and  great  expense/ 

"The  attorney  cast  a  still  more  anxious  look  at  the  packet:  and  his 
visitor,  untying  the  string  that  bound  it,  disclosed  a  quantity  of  promis- 
sory notes,  with  copies  of  deeds,  and  other  documents. 

"  'Upon  these  papers,'  said  the  client,  'the  man  whose  name  they  bear, 
has  raised,  as  you  will  see,  large  sums  of  money,  for  some  years  past. 
There  was  a  tacit  understanding  between  him  and  the  men  into  whose 
hands  they  originally  went — and  from  whom  I  have  by  degrees  pur- 
chased the  •'yhole,  for  treble  and  quadruple  their  nominal  value — that 
these  loans  should  be  from  time  to  time  renewed,  until  a  given  period 
had  elapsed.  Such  an  understanding  is  nowhere  expressed.  He  has  sus- 
tained many  losses  of  late;  and  these  obligations  accumulating  upon  him 
at  once  would  crush  him  to  the  earth.' 

"  'The  whole  amount  is  many  thousands  of  pounds,'  said  the  attorney, 
looking  over  the  papers. 

"  clt  is,'  said  the  client. 

"'What  are  we  to  do?'  inquired  the  man  of  business. 

"'Do!*  replied  the  client,  with  sudden  vehemence.  'Put  every  engine 
of  the  law  in  force,  every  trick  that  ingenuity  can  devise  and  rascality 
execute;  fair  means  and  foul;  the  open  oppression  of  the  law,  aided  by 
all  the  craft  of  its  most  ingenious  practitioners.  I  would  have  him  die 
a  harassing  and  lingering  death.  Ruin  him,  seize  and  sell  his  lands  and 
goods,  drive  him  from  house  and  home,  and  drag  him  forth  a  beggar 
in  his  old  age,  to  die  in  a  common  jail.'  > 

*  "  'But  the  costs,  my  dear  sir,  the  costs  of  all  this,'  reasoned  the  at- 
torney, when  he  had  recovered  from  his  momentary  surprise.  'If  the 
defendant  be  a  man  of  straw,  who  is  to  pay  the  costs,  sir?' 

"  'Name  any  sum,'  said  the  stranger,  his  hand  trembling  so  violently 
with  excitement  that  he  could  scarcely  hold  the  pen  he  seized  as  he 
spoke;  'any  sum,  and  it  is  yours.  Don't  be  afraid  to  name  it,  man.  I 
shall  not  think  it  dear,  if  you  gain  my  object.' 


176  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

"The  attorney  named  a  large  sum,  at  hazard,  as  the  advance  he  should 
require  to  secure  himself  against  the 'possibility  of  loss;  but  more  with 
the  view  of  ascertaining  how  far  his  client  was  really  disposed  tocgo, 
than  with  any  idea  that  he  would  comply  with  the  demand.  The  stranger 
wrote  a  check  upon  his  banker,  for  the  whole  amount,  and  left  him. 

"The  draft  was  duly  honored,  and  the  attorney,  finding  that  his 
strange  client  might  be  safely  relied  upon,  commenced  his  work  in 
earnest.  For  more  than  two  years  afterwards,  Mr.  Heyling  would  sit 
whole  days  together,  in  the  office,  poring  over  the  papers  as  they  accumu- 
lated, and  reading  again  and  again,  his  eyes  gleaming  with  joy,  the  let- 
ters of  remonstrance,  the  prayers  for  a  little  delay,  the  representations 
of  the  certain  ruin  in  which  the  opposite  party  must  be  involved,  which 
poured  in,  as  suit  after  suit,  and  process  after  process,  was  commenced. 
To  all  applications  for  a  brief  indulgence,  there  was  but  one  reply — 
the  money  must  be  paid.  Land,  house,  furniture,  each  in  its  turn,  was 
taken  under  some  one  of  the  numerous  executions  which  were  issued; 
and  the  old  man  himself  would  have  been  immured  in  prison  had  he  not 
escaped  the  vigilance  of  the  officers,  and  fled. 

"The  implacable  animosity  of  Heyling,  so  far  from  being  satiated  by 
the  success  of  his  persecution,  increased  a  hundred-fold  with  the  ruin  he 
inflicted.  On  being  informed  of  the  old  man's  flight,  his  fury  was  un- 
bounded. He  gnashed  his  teeth  with  rage;  tore  the  hair  from  Hs  head,  and 
assailed  with  horrid  imprecations  the  men  who  had  been  entrusted  with 
the  writ.  He  was  only  restored  to  comparative  calmness  by  repeated  as- 
surances of  the  certainty  of  discovering  the  fugitive.  Agents  were  sent 
in  quest  of  him,  in  all  directions;  every  stratagem  that  could  be  invented 
was  resorted  to,  for  the  purpose  of  discovering  his  place  of  retreat;  but 
it  was  all  in  vain.  Half  a  year  had  passed  over,  and  he  was  still  undis- 
covered. 

"At  length,  late  one  night,  Heyling,  of  whom  nothing  had  been  seen 
for  many  weeks  before,  appeared  at  his  attorney's  private  residence,  and 
sent  up  word  that  a  gentleman  wished  to  see  him  instantly.  Before  the 
attorney,  who  had  recognized  his  voice  from  above  stairs,  could  order  the 
servant  to  admit  him,  he  had  rushed  up  the  staircase,  and  entered  the 
drawing-room,  pale  and  breathless.  Having  closed  the  door,  to  prevent 
being  overheard,  he  sank  into  a  chair,  and  said,  in  a  low  voice: 

"  'Hush!  I  have  found  him  at  last.' 

"  'No!*  said  the  attorney.  'Well  done,  my  dear  sir;  well  done.' 

u<He  lies  concealed  in  a  wretched  lodging  in  Camden  Town,'  said 
Heyling.  'Perhaps  it  is  as  well  we  did  lose  sight  of  him,  for  he  has  been 
living  alone  there,  in  the  most  abject  misery,  all  the  time,  and  he  is  poor 
— very  poor.' 

"  'Very  good,'  said  th$  attorney.  'You  will  have  the  capture  made  to- 
morrow, of  course?' 


GREAT  BRITAIN— DICKENS  177 

"<Yes,'  replied  Heyling.  'Stay!  no!  The  next  day.  You  are  surprised 
at  my  wishing  to  postpone  it/  he  added,  with  a  ghastly  smile;  'but  I  had 
forgotten.  The  next  day  is  an  anniversary  in  his  life:  let  it  be  done  then/ 

"'Very  good/  said  the  attorney.  Will  you  write  down  instructions 
for  the  officer?' 

"  'No;  let  him  meet  me  here,  at  eight  in  the  evening,  and  I  will  ac- 
company him  myself.' 

"They  met  on  the  appointed  night,  and,  hiring  a  hackney  coach, 
directed  the  driver  to  stop  at  that  corner  of  the  old  Pancras  Road,  at 
which  stands  the  parish  workhouse.  By  the  time  they  alighted  there,  it 
was  quite  dark;  and,  proceeding  by  the  dead  wall  in  front  of  the  Veteri- 
nary Hospital,  they  entered  a  small  by-street,  which  is,  or  was  at  that 
time,  called  Little  College  Street,  and  which,  whatever  it  may  be  now, 
was  in  those  days  a  desolate  place  enough,  surrounded  by  little  else  than 
fields  and  ditches. 

"Having  drawn  the  traveling  cap  he  had  on  half  over  his  face,  and 
muffled  himself  in  his  cloak,  Heyling  stopped  before  the  meanest-looking 
house  in  the  street,  and  knocked  gently  at  the  door.  It  was  at  once  opened 
by  a  woman,  who  dropped  a  curtsey  of  recognition,  and  Heyling,  whis- 
pering the  i  officer  to  remain  below,  crept  gently  upstairs,  and,  opening 
the  door  of  the  front  room,  entered  at  once. 

"The  object  of  his  search  and  his  unrelenting  animosity,  now  a  decrepit 
i  old  man,  was  seated  at  a  bare  deal  table,  on  which*  stood  a  miserable 
candle.^He  started  on  the  entrance  of  the  stranger,  and  rose  feebly  to  his 
feet.  ** 

"  cWhat  now,  what  now?'  said  the  old  man.  What  fresh  misery  is 
this?  What  do  you  want  here?' 

"  'A  word  with  you?  replied  Heyling.  As  he  spoke,  he  seated  himself 
at  the  other  end  of  the  table,  and,  throwing  off  his  cloak  and  cap,  dis- 
closed his  features. 

"The  old  man  seemed  instantly  deprived  of  the  power  of  speech. 
He  fell  backward  in  his  chair,  and,  clasping  his  hands  together,  gazed  on 
the  apparition  with  a  mingled  look  of  abhorrence  and  fear. 

"  'This  day  six  years,'  said  Heyling,  CI  claimed  the  life  you  owed  me 
for  my  child's.  Beside  the  lifeless  form  of  your  daughter,  old  man, 
I  swore  to  live  a  life  of  revenge.  I  have  never  swerved  from  my  purpose 
for  a  moment's  space;  but  if  I  had,  one  thought  of  her  uncomplaining, 
suffering  look,  as  she  drooped  away,  or  of  the  starving  face  of  our  inno- 
cent child,  would  have  nerved  me  to  my  task.  My  first  act  of  requital 
you  well  remember:  this  is  my  last.' 

"The  old  man  shivered,  and  his  hands  dropped  powerless  by  his  side. 

"  CI  leave  England  to-morrow,'  said  Heyling,  after  a  moment's  pause. 
'To-night  I  consign  you  -to  the  living  death  to  which  you  devoted  her — 
a  hopeless  prison — '  -  , 


178  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

"He  raised  his  eyes  to  the  old  man's  countenance,  and  paused.  He 
lifted  the  light  to  his  face,  set  it  gently  down,  and  left  the  apartment. 

"  'You  had  better  see  to  the  old  man/  he  said  to  the  woman,  as  he 
opened  the  door  and  motioned  the  officer  to  follow  him  into  the  street. 
'I  think  he  is  ill.'  The  woman  closed  the  door,  ran  hastily  upstairs,  and 
found  him  lifeless. 

"Beneath  a  plain  gravestone,  in  one  of  the  most  peaceful  and  secluded 
churchyards  in  Kent,  where  wild  flowers  mingle  with  the  grass,  and  the 
soft  landscape  around  forms  the  fairest  spot  in  the  garden  of  England, 
lie  the  bones  of  the  young  mother  and  her  gentle  child.  But  the  ashes  of 
the  father  do  not  mingle  with  theirs;  nor,  from  that  night  forward,  did 
the  attorney  ever  gain  the  remotest  clue  to  the  subsequent  history  of  his 
queer  client." 


WILKIE  COLLINS 

(1824-1889) 

WILLIAM  WILKIE  COLLINS  was  born  at  London  in  1824.  Like  his 
friend  Dickens,  he  was  a  voluminous  writer  of  novels  and  *ales,  an 
editor  and  a  dramatist.  He  was  rather  more  interested  in  the  short 
story  form  than  Dickens,  and  a  more  accomplished  master  of  it.  A 
Terribly  Strange  Bed  is  one  of  the  best  known  examples  of  the 
tale  that  is  related  for  the  sake  of  the  thrill. 

The  story  is  reprinted  from  the  volume  After  Dark,  first  pub- 
lished in  London,  1856. 


-  A  TERRIBLY  STRANGE  BED 

OHORTLY  after  my  education  at  college  was  finished,  I  happened  to 
O  be  staying  at  Paris  with  an  English  friend.  We  were  both  young 
men  then,  and  lived,  I  am  afraid,  rather  a  wild  life,  in  the  delightful 
city  of  our  sojourn.  One  night  we  were  idling  about  the  neighborhood 
of  the  Palais  Royal,  doubtful  to  what  amusement  we  should  next  betake 
ourselves.  My  friend  proposed  a  visit  to  Frascati's;  but  his  suggestion  was 
not  to  my  taste.  I  knew  Frascati's,  as  the  French  saying  is,  by  heart;  had 
lost  and  won  plenty  of  five-franc  pieces  there,  merely  for  amusement's 
sake,  until  it  was  amusement  no  longer,  and  was  thoroughly  tired,  in 
fact,  of  all  the  ghastly  respectabilities  of  such  a  social  anomaly  as  a  re- 
spectable  gambling-house. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— COLLINS  179 

"For  Heaven's  sake,"  said  I  to  my  friend,  "let  us  go  somewhere  where 
we  can  see  a  little  genuine,  blackguard,  poverty-stricken  gaming,  with  no 
false  gingerbread  glitter  thrown  over  it  at  all.  Let  us  get  away  from 
fashionable  Frascati's,  to  a  house  where  they  don't  mind  letting  in  a  man 
with  a  ragged  coat,  or  a  man  with  no  coat,  ragged  or  otherwise." 

''Very  well,"  said  my  friend,  "we  needn't  go  out  of  the  Palais  Royal 
to  find  the  sort  of  company  you  want.  Here's  the  place  just  before 
us;  as  blackguard  a  place,  by  all  report,  as  you  could  possibly  wish  to 


see." 


In  another  minute  we  arrived  at  the  door,  and  entered  the  house." 
When  we  got  upstairs,  and  had  left  our  hats  and  sticks  with  the  door- 
keeper, we  were  admitted  into  the  chief  gambling-room.  We  did  not 
find  many  people  assembled  there.  But,  few  as  the  men  were  who  looked 
up  at  us  on  our  entrance,  they  were  all  types — lamentably  true  types — 
of  their  respective  classes. 

We  had  come  to  see  blackguards;  but  ttese  men  were  something  worse. 
There  is  a  comic  side,  more  or  less  appreciable,  in  all  blackguardism:  here 
there  was  nothing  but  tragedy — mute,  weird  tragedy.  The  quiet  in  the 
room  was  horrible.  The  thin,  haggard,  long-haired  young  man,  whose 
sunken  eyes  fiercely  watched  the  turning  up  of  the  cards,  never  spoke; 
the  flabby,  fat-faced,  pimply  player,  who  pricked  his  piece  of  pasteboard 
perse veringly,  to  register  how  often  black  won,  and  how  often  red,  never 
spoke;  the  dirty,  wrinkled  old  man,  with  the  vulture  eyes  and  the  darned 
great-coat,  who  had  lost  his  last  sou,  and  still  looked  on  desperately  after 
he  could  play  no  longer,  never  spoke.  Even  the  voice  of  the  croupier 
sounded  as  if  it  were  strangely  dulled  and  thickened  in  the  atmosphere  of 
the  room.  I  had  entered  the  place  to  laugh,  but  the  spectacle  before  me 
was  something  to  weep  over.  I  soon  found  it  necessary  to  take  refuge  in 
excitement  from  the  depression  of  spirits  which  was  fast  stealing  on  me. 
Unfortunately  I  sought  the  nearest  excitement,  by  going  to  the  table 
and  beginning  to  play.  Still  more  unfortunately,  as  the  event  will  show, 
I  won — won  prodigiously;  won  incredibly;  won  at  such  a  rate  that  the 
regular  players  at  the  table  crowded  round  me;  and  staring  at  my  stakes 
with  hungry,  superstitious  eyes,  whispered  to  one  another  that  the  Eng- 
lish stranger  was  going  to  break  the  bank. 

1  The  game  was  Rouge  et  Noir.  I  had  played  at  it  in  every  city  in 
Europe,  without,  however,  the  care  or  the  wish  to  study  the  Theory 
of  Chances — that  philosopher's  stone  of  all  gamblers!  And  a  gambler, 
in  the  strict  sense  of  the  word,  I  had  never  been.  I  was  heart-whole 
from  the  corroding  passion  for  play.  My  gaming  was  a  mere  idle  amuse- 
ment. I  never  resorted  to  it  by  necessity,  because  I  never  knew  what  it 
was  to  want  money.  I  never  practised  it  so  incessantly  as  to  lose  more 
than  I  could  afford,  or  to  gain  more  than  I  could  coolly  pocket  without 
being  thrown  off  my  balance  by  my  good  luck.  In  short,  I  had  hitherto 


i8o  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

frequented  gambling-tables — just  as  I  frequented  ball-rooms  and  opera- 
houses — because  they  amused  me,  and  because  I  had  nothing  better  to 
do  with  my  leisure  hours. 

But  on  this  occasion  it  was  very  different — now,  for  the  first  time 
in  my  life,  I  felt  what  the  passion  for  play  really  was.  My  successes 
first  bewildered,  and  then,  in  the  most  literal  meaning  of  the  word,  in- 
toxicated me.  Incredible  as  it  may  appear,  it  is  nevertheless  true,  that  I 
•only  lost  when  I  attempted  to  estimate  chances,  and  played  according 
to  previous  calculation.  If  I  left  everything  to  luck,  and  staked  without 
any  "care  or  consideration,  I  was  sure  to  win — to  win  in  the  face  of  every 
•recognized  probability  in  favor  of  the  bank.  At  first  some  of  the  men 
present  ventured  their  money  safely  enough  on  my  color;  but  I  speedily 
increased  my  stakes  to  sums  which  they  dared  not  risk.  One  after  another 
they  left  off  playing,  and  breathlessly  looked  on  at  my  game. 

Still,  time  after  time,  I  staked  higher  and  higher,  and  still  won.  The 
excitement  in  the  room  rose  t»  fever  pitch.  The  silence  was  interrupted 
by  a  deep-muttered  chorus  of  oaths  and  exclamation's  in  different 
languages,  every  time  the  gold  was  shoveled  across  to  my  side  of  the  table 
3 — even  the  imperturbable  croupier  dashed  his  rake  on  the  floor  in  a 
(French)  fury  of  astonishment  at  my  success.  But  one  man  present  pre- 
served his  self-possession,  and  that  man  was  my  friend.  He  came  to  my 
side,  and  whispering  in  English,  begged  me  to  leave  the  place,  satisfied 
with  what  I  had  already  gained.  I  must  do  him  the  justice*  to  say  that 
he  repeated  his  warnings  and  entreaties  several  times,  and  only  left  me 
and  went  away,  after  I  had  rejected  his  advice  (I  was  to  all  intents  and 
purposes  gambling  drunk)  in  terms  which  rendered  it  impossible  for  him 
to  address  me  again  that  night. 

Shortly  after  he  had  gone,  a  hoarse  voice  behind  me  cried,  "Permit 
me,  my  dear  sir — permit  me  to  restore  to  their  proper  place,  two  napo- 
leons  which  you  have  dropped.  Wonderful  luck,  sir!  I  pledge  you  my 
.word  of  honor,  as  an  old  soldier,  in  the  course  of  my  long  experience 
in  this  sort  of  thing,  I  never  saw  such  luck  as  yours — never!  Go  on,  sir 
^^Sacre  mille  bombes!  Go  on  boldly,  and  break  the  bank!" 

„  I.  turned  round  and  saw,  nodding  and  smiling  at  me  with  inveterate 
civility,  a  tall  man,  dressed  in  a  frogged  and  braided  surtout. 

If  I  had  been  in  my  senses,  I  should  have  considered  him,  personally, 
as  being  rather  a  suspicious  specimen  of  an  old  soldier.  He  had  goggling, 
bloodshot  eyes,  mangy  mustaches,  and  a  broken  nose.  His  voice  betrayed 
a  barrack-room  intonation  of  the  worst  order,  and  he  had  the  dirtiest  pair 
of  hands  I  ever  saw — even  in  France.  These  little  personal  peculiarities 
^xercised*.  however,  no  repelling  influence  on  me.  In  the  mad  excite- 
ment, the  reckless  triumph  of  that  moment,  I  was  ready  to  "fraternize" 
with  anybody  who  encouraged  me  in  my  game.  I  accepted  the  old  sol- 
Offered  pinch  of  snuff  j  clapped  him  on  the  back,  and  swore  he 


GREAT  BRITAIN— COLLINS  i$i 

was  the  honestest  fellow  in  the  world — the  most  glorious  relic  of  the 
Grand  Army  that  I  had  ever  met  with.  "Go  on! "%cried  my  military 
friend,  snapping  his  fingers  in  ecstasy — "Go  on,  and  win!  Break  the 
bank — Mille  tonnerres!  my  gallant  English  comrade,  break  the  bank!" 
And  I  did  go  on — went  on  at  such  a  rate,  that  in  another  quarter  of 
an  hour  the  croupier  called  out,  "Gentlemen,  the  bank  has  discontinued 
for  to-night."  All  the  notes,  and  all  the  gold  in  that  "bank,"  now  lay 
in  a  heap  under  my  hands;  the  whole  floating  capital  of  the  gambling- 
house  was  waiting  to  pour  into  my  pockets!  ^ 

"Tie  up  the  money  in  your  pocket-handkerchief,  my  worthy  sir/* 
said  the  old  soldier,  as  I  wildly  plunged  my  hands  into  my  heap  of 
gold.  "Tie  it  up,  as  we  used  to  tie  up  a  bit  of  dinner  in  the  Grand 
Army;  your  winnings  are  too  heavy  for  any  breeches-pockets  that  ever 
were  sewed.  There!  that's  it — shovel  them  in,  notes  and  all!  Credie! 
what  luck!  Stop!  another  napoleon  on  the  floor.  Ah!  sacre  fetit  folisson 
de  Napoleon!  have  I  found  thee  at  last?  Now  then,  sir — two  tight  double 
knots  each  way  with  your  honorable  permission,  and  the  money's  safe. 
Feel  it!  feel  it,  fortunate  sir!  hard  and  round  as  a  cannon-ball —  A  has 
if  they  had  only  fired  such  cannon-balls  at  us  at  Austerlitz — nom  d*une 
fife!  if  they  only  had!  And  now,  as  an  ancient  grenadier,  as  an  ex- 
brave  of  the  French  army,  what  remains  for  me  to  do?  I  ask  what? 
Simply  this,  to  entreat  my  valued  English  friend  to  drink  a  bottle  of 
champagnt  with  me,  and  toast  the  goddess  Fortune  in  foaming  goblets 
before  we  part!" 

"Excellent  ex-brave!  Convivial  ancient  grenadier!  Champagne  by  all 
means!  An  English  cheer  for  an  old  soldier!  Hurrah!  hurrah!  Another 
English  cheer  for  the  goddess  Fortune!  Hurrah!  hurrah!  hurrah!" 

"Bravo!  the  Englishman;  the  amiable,  gracious  Englishman,  in 
whose  veins  circulates  the  vivacious  blood  of  France!  Another  glass ?, 
A  has! — the  bottle  is  empty!  Never  mind!  Vive  le  vin!  I,  the  old  sol- 
dier, order  another  bottle,  and  half  a  pound  of  bonbons  with  it!" 

"No,  no,  ex-brave;  never — ancient  grenadier!  Your  bottle  last  time;' 
my  bottle  this!  Behold  it!  Toast  away!  The  French  Army!  the  great 
Napoleon!  the  present  company!  the  croupier!  the  honest  croupier's  wife 
and  daughters — if  he  has  any!  the  ladies  generally!  everybody  in  the 
world!"  . 

By  the  time  the  second  bottle  of  champagne  was  emptied,  I  felt  as 
if  I  had  been  drinking  liquid  fire — my  brain  seemed  all  aflame.  No 
excess  in  wine  had  ever  had  this  effect  on  me  before  in  my  life.  Was 
it  the  result  of  a  stimulant  acting  upon  my  system  when  I  was  in  a 
highly  excited  state?  Was  my  stomach  in  a  particularly  disordered  con- 
dition? Or  was  the  champagne  amazingly  strong? 

"Ex-brave  of  the  French  Army!"  cried  I,  in  a  mad  state  of  exhilara- 
tion, €<1  am  on  fire!  how  are  you?  You  have  set  me  on  firel  Do  you 


X82  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

hear,  my  hero  of  Austerlitz?  Let  us  have  a  third  bottle  of  champagne 
to  put  the  flame  out!" 

The  old  soldier'  wagged  his  head,  rolled  his  goggle-eyes,  until  I  ex- 
pected to  see  them  slip  out  of  their  sockets;  placed  his  dirty  forefingjr 
by  the  side  of  his  broken  nose;  solemnly  ejaculated  "Coffee!"  and 
immediately  ran  off  into  an  inner  room. 

The  word  pronounced  by  the  eccentric  veteran  seemed  to  have  a 
magical  effect  on  the  rest  of  the  company  present.  With  one  accord  they 
all  rose  to  depart.  Probably  they  had  expected  to  profit  by  my  intoxica- 
tion; but  finding  that  my  new  friend  was  benevolently  bent  on  prevent- 
ing me  from  getting  dead  drunk,  had  now  abandoned  all  hope  of  thriv- 
ing pleasantly  on  my  winnings.  Whatever  their  motive  might  be,  at  any 
rate  they  went  away  in  a  body.  When  the  old  soldier  returned  and  sat 
down  again  opposite  to  me  at  the  table,  we  had  the  room  to  ourselves. 
I  could  see  the  croupier,  in  a  sort  of  vestibule  which  opened  out  of  it, 
eating  his  supper  in  solitude.  The  silence  was  now  deeper  than  ever. 

A  sudden  change,  too,  had  come  over  the  "ex-brave."  He  assumed  a 
portentously  solemn  look;  and  when  he  spoke  to  me  again,  his  speech 
was  ornamented  by  no  oaths,  enforced  by  no  finger-snapping,  enlivened 
by  no  apostrophes  or  exclamations. 

"Listen,  my  dear  sir,"  said  he,  in  mysteriously  confidential  tones— 
"listen  to  an  old  soldier's  advice.  I  have  been  to  the  mistress  of  the 
house  (a  very  charming  woman,  with  a  genius  for  cookery ! )  *io  impress 
on  her  the  necessity  of  making  us  some  particularly  strong  and  good 
coffee.  You  must  drink  this  coffee  in  order  to  get  rid  of  your  little 
amiable  exaltation  of  spirits  before  you  think  of  going  home — you  must, 
my  good  and  gracious  friend!  With  all  that  money  to  take  home  to- 
night, it  is  a  sacred  duty  to  yourself  to  have  your  wits  about  you.  You 
are  known  to  be  a  winner  to  an  enormous  extent  by  several  gentlemen 
present  to-night,  who,  in  a  certain  point  of  view,  are  very  worthy  and 
excellent  fellows;  but  they  are  mortal  men,  my  dear  sir,  and  they  have 
their  amiable  weaknesses!  Need  I  say  more?  Ah,  no,  no!  you  under- 
stand me!  Now,  this  is  what  you  must  do — send  for  a  cabriolet  when 
you  feel  quite  well  again — draw  up  all  the  windows  when  you  get  into 
it — and  tell  the  driver  to  take  you  home  only  through  the  large  and 
well-lighted  thoroughfares.  Do  this;  and  you  and  your  money  will  be 
safe.  Do  this;  and  to-morrow  you  will  thank  an  old  soldier  for  giving 
you  a  word  of  honest  advice." 

Just  as  the  ex-brave  ended  his  oration  in  very  lachrymose  tones,  the 
coffee  came  in,  ready  poured  out  in  two  cups.  My  attentive  friend 
handed  me  one  of  the  cups  with  a  bow.  I  was  parched  with  thirst,  and 
drank  it  off  at  a  draft.  Almost  instantly  afterward  I  was  seized  with  a 
fit  of  giddiness,  and  felt  more  completely  intoxicated  than  ever.  The 
room  whirled  round  and  round  furiously;  the  old  soldier  seemed  to  be 


GREAT  BRITAIN— COLLINS  183 

regularly  bobbing  up  and  down  before  me  like  the  piston  of  a  steam- 
engine.  I  was  half  deafened  by  a  violent  singing  in  my  ears;  a  feeling 
of  utter  bewilderment,  helplessness,  idiocy,  overcame  me.  I  rose  from 
my  chair,  holding  on  by  the  table  to  keep  my  balance;  and  stammered 
out  that  I  felt  dreadfully  unwell — so  unwell  that  I  did  not  know  how 
I  was  to  get  home. 

"My  dear  friend,"  answered  the  old  soldier — and  even  his  voice 
seemed  to  be  bobbing  up  and  down  as  he  spoke — "my  dear  friend,  it 
would  be  madness  to  go  home  in  your  state;  you  would  be  sure  to  lose 
your  money;  you  might  be  robbed  and  murdered  with  the  greatest  ease. 
/  am  going  to  sleep  here:  do  you  sleep  here,  too — they  make  up  capital 
beds  in  this  house — take  one;  sleep  off  the  effects  of  the  wine,  and  go 
home  safely  with  your  winnings  to-morrow — to-morrow,  in  broad  day- 

light." 

I  had  but  two  ideas  left:  one,  that  I  must  never  let  go  hold  of  my 
handkerchief  full  of  money;  the  other,  that  I  must  lie  down  somewhere 
immediately,  and  fall  off  into  a  comfortable  sleep.  So  I  agreed  to  the 
proposal  about  the  bed,  and  took  the  offered  arm  of  the  old  soldier, 
carrying  my  money  with  my  disengaged  hand.  Preceded  by  the  croupier, 
we  parsed  along  some  passages  and  up  a  flight  of  stairs  into  the  bed- 
room which  I  was  to  occupy.  The  ex-brave  shook  me  warmly  by  the 
hand,  proposed  that  we  should  breakfast  together,  and  then,  followed 
by  the  croupier,  left  me  for  the  night. 

I  ran  to  the  wash-hand  stand;  drank  some  of  the  water  in  my  jug; 
poured  the  rest  out,  and  plunged  my  face  into  it;  then  sat  down  in  a 
chair  and  tried  to  compose  myself.  I  soon  felt  better.  The  change  for 
my  lungs,  from  the  fetid  atmosphere  of  the  gambling-house  to  the  cool 
air  of  the  apartment  I  now  occupied,  the  almost  equally  refreshing 
change  for  my  eyes,  from  the  glaring  gaslights  of  the  "salon"  to  the 
dim,  quiet  flicker  of  one  bedroom-candle,  aided  wonderfully  the  restora- 
tive effects  of  cold  water.  The  giddiness  left  me,  and  I  began  to  feel 
a  little  like  a  reasonable  being  again.  My  first  thought  was  of  the  risk 
of  sleeping  all  night  in  a  gambling-house ;  my  second,  of  the  still  greater 
risk  of  trying  to  get  out  after  the  house  was  closed,  and  of  going  home 
alone  at  night  through  the  streets  of  Paris  with  a  large  sum  of  money 
about  me.  I  had  slept  in  worse  places  than  this  on  my  travels;  so  I 
determined  to  lock,  bolt,  and  barricade  my  door,  and  take  my  chance  till 
the  next  morning. 

Accordingly,  I  secured  myself  against  all  intrusion;  looked  under  the 
bed,  and  into  the  cupboard;  tried  the  fastening  of  the  window;  and 
then,  satisfied  that  I  had  taken  every  proper  precaution,  pulled  off  my 
upper  clothing,  put  my  light,  which  was  a  dim  one,  on  the  hearth  among 
a  feathery  litter  of  wood-ashes,  and  got  into  bed,  with  the  handkerchief 
full  of  money  under  my  pillow. 


184  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  Of  THEt  WORLD 

I  soon  felt  not  only  that  I  could  not  go  to  sleep,  but  that  I  could  not 
even  close  my  eyes.  I  was  wide  awake,  and  in  a  high  fever.  Every  nerve 
in  my  body  trembled — every  one  of  my  senses  seemed  to  be  preter- 
naturally  sharpened.  I  tossed  and  rolled,  and  tried  every  kind  of  posi- 
tion and  perseveringly  sought  but  the  cold  corners  of  the  bed,  and  all 
to  no  purpose.  Now  I  thrust  my  arms  over  the  clothes;  now  I  poked 
them  under  the  clothes;  now  I  violently  shot  my  legs  straight  out  down 
to  the  bottom  of  the  bed;  now  I  convulsively  coiled  them  up  as  near  my 
chin  as  they  would  go;  now  I  shook  out  my  crumpled  pillow,  changed 
it  to  the  cool  side,  patted  it  flat,  and  lay  down  quietly  on  my  back;  now 
I  fiercely  doubled  it  in  two,  set  it  up  on  end,  thrust  it  against  the  board 
of  the  bed,  and  tried  a  sitting  posture.  Every  effort  was  in  vain;  I 
groaned  with  vexation  as  I  felt  that  I  was  in  for  a  sleepless  night. 

What  could  I  do?  I  had  no  book  to  read.  And  yet,  unless  I  found 
out  some  method  of  diverting  my  mind,  I  felt  certain  that  I  was  in  the 
condition  to  imagine  all  sorts  of  horrors;  to  rack  my  brain  with  fore- 
bodings of  every  possible  and  impossible  danger;  in  short,  to  pass  the 
night  in  suffering  all  conceivable  varieties  of  nervous  terror. 

I  raised  myself  on  my  elbow,  and  looked  about  the  room — which  was 
brightened  by  a  lovely  moonlight  pouring  straight  through  the  window 
—to  see  if  it  contained  any  pictures  or  ornaments  that  I  could  at  all 
clearly  distinguish.  While  my  eyes  wandered  from  wall  to  yrall,  a  re- 
membrance of  Le  Maistre's  delightful  little  book,  "Voyage  autour  de 
ma  Chambre,"  occurred  to  me.  I  resolved  to  imitate  the  French  author, 
and  find  occupation  and  amusement  enough  to  relieve  the  tedium  of  my 
wakefulness,  by  making  a  mental  inventory  of  every  article  of  furni- 
ture I  could  see,  and  by  following  up  to  their  sources  the  multitude  of 
associations  which  even  a  chair,  a  table,  or  a  wash-hand  stand  may  be 
made  to  call  forth. 

In  the  nervous,  unsettled  state  of  my  mind  at  that  moment,  I  found 
it  much  easier  to  make  my  inventory  than  to  make  my  reflections,  and 
thereupon  soon  gave  up  all  hope  of  thinking  in  Le  Maistre's  fanciful 
track — or,  indeed,  of  thinking  at  all.  I  looked  about  the  room  at  the 
different  articles  of  furniture,  and  did  nothing  more. 

There  was,  first,  the  bed  I  was  lying  in;  a  four-post  bed,  of  all 
things  in  the  world  to  meet  with  in  Paris — yes,  a  thorough  clumsy 
British  four-poster,  with  a  regular  top  lined  with  chintz — the  regular 
fringed  valance  all  round — the  regular  stifling,  unwholesome  curtains, 
which  I  remembered  having  mechanically  drawn  back  against  the  posts 
without  particularly  noticing  the  bed  when  I  first  got  into  the  room. 
Then  there  was  the  marble-topped  wash-hand  stand,  from  which  the 
water  I  had  spilled,  in  my  hurry  to  pour  it  out,  was  still  dripping,  slowly 
and  more  slowly,  on  to  the  brick  floor.  Then  two  small  chairs,  with  my 
coat,  waistcoat,  and  trousers  flung  on  them.  Then  a  large  elbow-chair 


GREAT  BRITAIN— COLLINS  igS 

covered  with  dirty  white  dimity,  with  my  cravat  and  shirt  collar  thrown 
over  the  back.  Then  a  chest  of  drawers  with  two  of  the  brass  handles 
off,  and  a  tawdry,  broken  china  inkstand  placed  on  it  by  way  of  orna- 
ment for  the  top.  Then  the  drfessing-table,  adorned  by  a  very  small 
looking-glass,  and  a  very  large  pincushion.  Then  the  window — an  un- 
usually large  window.  Then  a  dark  old  picture,  which  the  feeble  candle 
dimly  showed  me.  It  was  the  picture  of  a  fellow  in  a  high  Spanish  hat, 
crowned  with  a  plume  of  towering  feathers.  A  swarthy,  sinister  ruffian, 
looking  upward,  shading  his  eyes  with  his  hand,  and  looking  intently 
upward — it  might  be  at  some  tall  gallows  on  which  he  was  going  to 
be  hanged.  At  any  rate,  he  had  the  appearance  of  thoroughly  deserv- 
ing it. 

This  picture  put  a  kind  of  constraint  upon  me  to  look  upward  too—- 
at the  top  of  the  bed.  It  was  a  gloomy  and  not  an  interesting  object,  and 
I  looked  back  at  the  picture.  I  counted  the  feathers  in  the  man's  hat— 
they  stood  out  in  relief — three  white,  two  green.  I  observed  the  crown 
of  his  hat,  which  was  of  a  conical  shape,  according  to  the  fashion  sup- 
posed to  have  been  favored  by  Guido  Fawkes.  I  wondered  what  he  was 
looking  up  at.  It  couldn't  be  at  the  stars;  such  a  desperado  was  neither 
astrologer  nor  astronomer.  It  must  be  at  the  high  gallows,  and  he  was 
going  to  be  hanged  presently.  Would  the  executioner  come  into  posses- 
sion of  h»  conical  crowned  hat  and  plume  of  feathers?,  I  counted  the 
feathers  again — three  white,  two  green. 

While  I  still  lingered  over  this  very  improving  and  intellectual  em- 
ployment, my  thoughts  insensibly  began  to  wander.  The  moonlight  shin- 
ing into  the  room  reminded  me  of  a  certain  moonlight  night  in  Eng- 
land— the  night  after  a  picnic  party  in  a  Welsh  valley.  Every  incident 
of  the  drive  homeward,  through  lovely  scenery,  which  the  moonlight 
made  lovelier  than  ever,  came  back  to  my  remembrance,  though  I  had 
never  given  the  picnic  a  thought  for  years;  though,  if  I  had  tried  to 
recollect  it,  I  could  certainly  have  recalled  little  or  nothing  of  that 
scene  long  past.  Of  all  the  wonderful  faculties  that  help  to  tell  us  we 
are  immortal,  which  speaks  the  sublime  truth  more  eloquently  than 
memory?  Here  was  I,  in  a  strange  house  of  the  most  suspicious  character, 
in  a  situation  of  uncertainty,  and  even  of  peril,  which  might  seem  to 
make  the  cool  exercise  of  my  recollection  almost  out  of  the  question} 
nevertheless,  remembering,  quite  involuntarily,  places,  people,  conversa- 
tions, minute  circumstances  of  every  kind,  which  I  had  thought  forgotten 
forever;  which  I  could  not  possibly  have  recalled  at  will,  even  under 
the  most  favorable  auspices.  And  what  cause  had  'produced  in  a  moment 
the  whole  of  this  strange,  complicated,  mysterious  effect?  Nothing  but 
some  rays  of  moonlight  shining  in  at  my  bedroom  window. 

I  was  still  thinking  of  the  picnic— of  our  merriment  on  the  4nv§ 
home— pf  the  sentimental  young  lady  who  would  quote  Child* 


186  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

because  it  was  moonlight.  I  was  absorbed  by  these  past  scenes  and  past 
amusements,  when,  in  an  instant,  the  thread  on  which  my  memories  hung 
snapped  asunder;  my  attention  immediately  came  back  to  present  things 
more  vividly  than  ever,  and  I  found  myself,  I  neither  knew  why  nor 
wherefore,  looking  hard  at  the  picture  again. 

Looking  for  what? 

Good  God!  the  man  had  pulled  his  hat  down  on  his  brows!  No!  the 
hat  itself  was  gone!  Where  was  the  conical  crown?  Where  the  feathers 
— three  white,  two  green?  Not  there!  In  place  of  the  hat  and  feathers, 
what  dusky  object  was  it  that  now  hid  his  forehead,  his  eyes,  his  shading 
hand? 

Was  the  bed  moving? 

I  turned  on  my  back  and  looked  up.  Was  I  mad?  drunk?  dreaming? 
giddy  again?  or  was  the  top  of  the  bed  really  moving  down — sinking 
slowly,  regularly,  silently,  horribly,  right  down  throughout  the  whole  of 
its  length  and  breadth — right  down  upon  me,  as  I  lay  underneath? 

My  blood  seemed  to  stand  still.  A  deadly,  paralyzing  coldness  stole  all 
over  me  as  I  turned  my  head  round  on  the  pillow  and  determined  to  test 
whether  the  bed-top  was  really  moving  or  not,  by  keeping  my  eye  on  the 
man  in  the  picture. 

The  next  look  in  that  direction  was  enough.  The  dull,  black,  frowsy 
outline  of  the  valance  above  me  was  within  an  inch  of  beiSg  parallel 
with  his  waist.  I  still  looked  breathlessly.  And  steadily  and  slowly — very 
slowly — I  saw  the  figure,  and  the  line  of  frame  below  the  figure,  vanish, 
as  the  valance  moved  down  before  it. 

I  am,  constitutionally,  anything  but  timid.  I  have  been  on  more  than 
one  occasion  in  peril  of  my  life,  and  have  not  lost  my  self-possession  lor 
an  instant;  but  when  the  conviction  first  settled  on  my  mind  that  the 
bed-top  was  really  moving,  was  steadily  and  continuously  sinking  down 
upon  me,  I  looked  up  shuddering,  helpless,  panic-stricken,  beneath  the 
hideous  machinery  for  murder,  which  was  advancing  closer  and  closer 
to  suffocate  me  where  I  lay. 

I  looked  up,  motionless,  speechless,  breathless.  The  candle,  fully  spent, 
went  out;  but  the  moonlight  still  brightened  the  room.  Down  and  down, 
without  pausing  and  without  sounding,  came  the  bed-top,  and  still  my 
panic  terror  seemed  to  bind  me  faster  and  faster  to  the  mattress  on  which 
I  lay — down  and  down  it  sank,  till  the  dusty  odor  from  the  lining  of 
the  canopy  came  stealing  into  my  nostrils.  * 

*At  that  final  momerit  the  instinct  of  self-preservation  startled  me  out 
of  my  trance,  and  I  moved  at  last.  There  was  just  room  for  me  to  roll 
myself  sidewise  off  the  bed.  As  I  dropped  noiselessly  to  the  floor,  the  edge 
of.  the  murderous  canopy  touched  me  on  the  shoulder. 

Without  stopping  to  draw  my  breath,  without  wiping  the  cold  sweat 


GREAT  BRITAIN— COLLINS  187 

from  my  face,  I  rose  instantly  on  my  knees  to  watch  the  bed-top.  I  was 
literally  spellbound  by  it.  If  I  had  heard  footsteps  behind  me,  I  could 
not  have  turned  round;  if  a  means  of  escape  had  been  miraculously  pro- 
vided for  me,  I  could  not  have  moved  to  take  advantage  of  it.  The 
whole  life  in  me  was,  at  that  moment,  concentrated  in  my  eyes. 

It  descended — the  whole  canopy,  with  the  fringe  round  it,  came  down 
— down — close  down;  so  close  that  there  was  not  room  now  to  squeeze 
my  finger  between  the  bed-top  and  the  bed.  I  felt  at  the  sides,  and  dis- 
covered that  what  had  appeared  to  me  from  beneath  to  be  the  ordinary 
light  canopy  of  a  four-post  bed  was  in  reality  a  thick,  broad  mattress, 
the  substance  of  which  was  concealed  by  the  valance  and  its  fringe.  I 
looked  up  and  saw  the  four  posts  rising  hideously  bare.  In  the  middle 
of  the  bed-top  was  a  huge  wooden  screw  that  had  evidently  worked  it 
down  through  a  hole  in  the  ceiling,  just  as  ordinary  presses  are  worked 
down  on  the  substance  selected  for  compression.  The  frightful  apparatus 
moved  without  making  the  faintest  noise.  There  had  been  no  creaking 
as  it  came  down;  there  was  now  not  the  faintest  sound  from  the  room 
above.  Amidst  a  dead  and  awful  silence  I  beheld  before  me — in  the 
Nineteenth  Century,  and  in  the  civilized  capital  of  France — such  a  ma- 
chine for  secret  murder  by  suffocation  as  might  have  existed  in  the  worst 
days  of  tfce  Inquisition,  in  the  lonely  inns  among  the  Hartz  Mountains, 
in  the  mysterious  tribunals  of  Westphalia!  Still,  as  I  looked  on  it,  I 
could  not  move,  I  could  hardly  breathe,  but  I  began  to  recover  the 
power  of  thinking,  and  in  a  moment  I  discovered  the  murderous  con- 
spiracy framed  against  me  in  all  its  horror. 

My  cup  of  coffee  had  been  drugged,  and  drugged  too  strongly.  I  had 
been  saved  from  being  smothered  by  having  taken  an  overdose  of  some 
narcotic.  How  I  had  chafed  and  fretted  at  the  fever  fit  which  had  pre- 
served my  life  by  keeping  me  awake!  How  recklessly  I  had  confided 
myself  to  the  two  wretches  who  had  led  me  into  this  room,  determined, 
for  the  sake  of  my  winnings,  to  kill  me  in  my  sleep  by  the  surest  and 
most  horrible  contrivance  for  secretly  accomplishing  my  destruction! 
How  many  men,  winners  like  me,  had  slept,  as  I  had  proposed  to  sleep, 
in  that  bed,  and  had  never  been^seen  or  heard  of  more!  I  shuddered  at 
the  bare  idea  of  it. 

But  ere  long  all  thought  was  again  suspended  by  the  sight  of  the  mur- 
derous canopy  moving  once  more.  After  it  had  remained  on  the  bed — 
as  nearly  as  I  could  guess — about  ten  minutes,  it  began  to  move  up  again. 
The  villains  who  worked  it  from  above  evidently  believed  that  their 
purpose  was  now  accomplished.  Slowly  and  silently,  as  it  had  descended, 
that  horrible  bed-top  rose  toward  its  former  place.  When  it  reached  the 
upper  extremities  of  the  four  posts,  it  reached  the  ceiling  too.  Neither 
hole  nor  screw  could  be  seen;  the  bed  became  in  appearance  an  ordinary 


188  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

bed  again— the  canopy  an  ordinary  canopy — even  to  the  most  suspicious 
eyes. 

Now,  for  the  first  time,  I  was  able  to  move — to  rise  from  my  knees-r 
to  dress  myself  in  my  upper  clothing — and  to  consider  of  how  I  should 
escape.  If  I  betrayed  by  the  smallest  noise  that  the  attempt  to  suffocate 
me  had  failed,  I  was  certain  to  be  murdered.  Had  I  made  any  noise 
already?  I  listened  intently,  looking  toward  the  door.  ^ 

No!  No  footsteps  in  the  passage  outside — no  sound  of  a  tread,  light 
or  heavy,  in  the  room  above — absolute  silence  everywhere.  Besides  lock- 
ing and  bolting  my  door,  I  had  moved  an  old  wooden  chest  against  it, 
which  I  had  found  under  the  bed.  To  remove  this  chest  (my  blood  ran 
cold  as  I  thought  of  what  its  contents  might  be ! )  without  making  some 
disturbance  was  impossible;  and,  moreover,  to  think  of  escaping  through 
the  house,  now  barred  up  for  the  night,  was  sheer  insanity.  Only  one 
chance  was  left  me — the  window.  I  stole  to  it  on  tiptoe. 

My  bedroom  was  on  the  first  floor,  above  an  entresol,  and  looked  into 
the  back  street.  I  raised  my  hand  to  open  the  window,  knowing  that  on 
that  action  hung,  by  the  merest  hair-breadth,  my  chance  of  safety.  They 
keep  vigilant  watch  in  a  House  of  Murder.  If  any  part  of  the  frame 
cracked,  if  the  hinge  creaked,  I  was  a  lost  man!  It  must  have  occupied 
me  at  least  five  minutes,  reckoning  by  time — five  hours  reckoning  by 
suspense — to  open  that  window.  I  succeeded  in  doing  it  silently — in 
doing  it  with  all  the  dexterity  of  a  house-breaker — and  then  looked 
down  into  the  street.  To  leap  the  distance  beneath  me  would  be  almost 
certain  destruction!  Next,  I  looked  round  at  the  sides  of  the  house. 
Down  the  left  side  ran  a  thick  water-pipe — it  passed  close  by  the  outer 
edge  of  the  window.  The  moment  I  saw  the  pipe,  I  knew  I  was  saved. 
My  breath  came  and  went  freely  for  the  first  time  since  I  had  seen  the 
canopy  of  the  bed  moving  down  upon  me! 

To  some  men  the  means  of  escape  which  I  had  discovered  might  have 
seemed  difficult  and  dangerous  enough — to  me  the  prospect  of  slipping 
down  the  pipe  into  the  street  did  not  suggest  even  a  thought  of  peril.  I 
had  always  been  accustomed,  by  the  practise  of  gymnastics,  to  keep  up 
my  school-boy  powers  as  a  daring  and  expert  climber;  and  knew  that 
my  head,  hands,  and  feet  would  serve  me  faithfully  in  any  hazards  of 
ascent  or  descent.*  I  had  already  got  one  leg  over  the  window-sill,  when 
I  remembered  the  handkerchief  filled  with  money  under  my  pillow.  I 
could  well  have  afforded  to  leave  it  behind  me,  but  I  was  revengefully 
determined  that  the  miscreants  of  the  gambling-house  should  miss  their 
plunder  as  well  as  their  victim.  So  I  went  back  to  the  bed  and  tied  the 
heavy  handkerchief  at  my  back  by  my  cravat. 

Just  as  I  had  made  it  tight  and  fixed  it  in  a  comfortable  place,  I 
thought  I  heard  a  sound  of  breathing  outside  the  door.  The  chill  feeling 
of  horror  ran  through  me  again  as  I  listened.  No!  Dead  silence  still  in 


GREAT  BRITAIN— COLLINS  189 

the  passage— J  had  only  heard  the  night  air  blowing  softly  into  the  room; 
The  next  moment  I  was  on  the  window-sill — and  the  next  I  had  a  firm 
grip  on  the  water-pipe  with  my  hands  and  knees.  " 

•I  slid  down  into  the  street  easily  and  quietly,  as  I  thought  I  should, 
and  immediately  set  off  at  the  top  of  my  speed  to  a  branch  "Prefecture" 
of  Police,  which  I  knew  was  situated  in  the  immediate  neighborhood*. 
A  "Sub-pref ect,"  and  several  picked  men  among  his  subordinates,  hap-r 
pened  to  be  up,  maturing,  I  believe,  some  scheme  for  discovering  the 
perpetrator  of  a  mysterious  murder  which  all  Paris  was  talking  of  just 
then.  When  I  began  my  story,  in  a  breathless  hurry  and  in  very  bad 
French,  I  could  see  that  the  Sub-prefect  suspected  me  of  being  a  drunken 
Englishman  who  had  robbed  somebody;  but  he  soon  altered  his  opinion, 
as  I  went  on,  and  before  I  had  anything  like  concluded,  he  shoved  all 
the  papers  before  him  into  a  drawer,  put  on  his  hat,  supplied  me  with 
another  (for  I  was  bareheaded),  ordered  a  file  of  soldiers,  desired  his 
expert  followers  to  get  ready  all  sorts  of  tools  for  breaking  open  doors 
and  ripping  up  brick  flooring,  and  took  my  arm,  in  the  most  friendly 
and  familiar  manner  possible,  to  lead  me  with  him  out  of  the  house.  I 
will  venture  to  say  that  when  the  Sub-prefect  was  a  little  boy,  and  was 
taken  for  the  first  time  to  the  play,  he  was  not  half  as  much  pleased  as 
he  was  now  at  the  job  in  prospect  for  him  at  the  gambling-house! 

Away  we  went  through  the  streets,  the  Sub-prefect  cross-examining 
and  congratulating  me  in  the  same  breath  as  we  marched  at  the  head  of 
bur  formidable  fosse  comltatus.  Sentinels  were  placed  at  the  back  and 
front  of  the  house  the  moment  we  got  to  it,  a  tremendous  battery  of 
knocks  was  directed  against  the  door;  a  light  appeared  at  a  window;  I 
was  told  to  conceal  myself  behind  the  police — then  came  more  knocks, 
and  a  cry  of  "Open  in  the  name  of  the  law!"  At  that  terrible  summons 
bolts  and  locks  gave  way  before  an  invisible  hand,  and  the  moment  after 
the  Sub-prefect  was  in  the  passage,  confronting  a  waiter  half  dressed 
and  ghastly  pale.  This  was  the  short  dialogue  which  immediately  took 
place: 

"We  want  to  see  the  Englishman  who  is  sleeping  in  this  house?" 

"He  went  away  hours  ago." 

"He  did  no  such  thing.  His  friend  went  away;  he  remained.  Show  us 
to  his  bedroom!" 

"I  swear  to  you,  Monsieur  le  Sous-prefet,  he  is  not  here!  He — " 

"I  swear  to  you,  Monsieur  le  Garden,  he  is.  He  slept  here — he  didn't 
find  your  bed  comfortable — he  came  to  us  to  complain  of  it — here  he 
is  among  my  men — and  here  am  I  ready  to  look  for  a  flea  or  two  in  his 
bedstead.  Renaudin!"  (calling  to  one  of  the  subordinates,  and  pointing 
to  the  waiter),  "collar  that  man,  and  tie  his  hands  behind  him.  Now, 
then,  gentlemen,  let  us  walk  upstairs!" 

Every  man  and  woman  in  the  house  was  secured — the  "Old  Soldier" 


190  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

the  first.  Then  I  identified  the  bed  in  which  I  had  slept,  and  then  we 
went  into  the  room  above. 

No  object  that  was  at  all  extraordinary  appeared  in  any  part  of  it.  The 
Sub-prefect  looked  round  the  place,  commanded  everybody  to  be  silent, 
stamped  twice  on  the  floor,  called  for  a  candle,  looked  attentively  at  the 
spot  he  had  stamped  on,  and  ordered  the  flooring  there  to  be  carefully 
taken  up.  This  was  done  in  no  time.  Lights  were  produced,  and  we  saw 
a  deep  raftered  cavity  between  the  floor  of  this  room  and  the  ceiling  of 
the  room  beneath.  Through  this  cavity  there  ran  perpendicularly  a  sort 
of  case  of  iron  thickly  greased;  and  inside  the  case  appeared  the  screw, 
which  communicated  with  the  bed-top  below.  Extra  lengths  of  screw, 
freshly  oiled;  levers  covered  with  felt;  all  the  complete  upper  works 
of  a  heavy  press — constructed  with  infernal  ingenuity  so  as  to  join 
the  fixtures  below,  and  when  taken  to  pieces  again  to  go  into  the 
smallest  possible  compass — were  next  discovered  and  pulled  out  on  the 
floor.  After  some  little  difficulty  the  Sub-prefect  succeeded  in  putting  the 
machinery  together,  and,  leaving  his  men  to  work  it,  descended  with  me 
to  the  bedroom.  The  smothering  canopy  was  then  lowered,  but  not  so 
noiselessly  as  I  had  seen  it  lowered.  When  I  mentioned  this  to  th«  Sub- 
prefect,  his  answer,  simple  as  it  was,  had  a  terrible  significance,  "My 
men,"  said  he,  "are  working  down  the  bed-top  for  the  first  time — the 
men  whose  money  you  won  were  in  better  practise."  « 

We  left  the  house  in  the  sole  possession  of  two  police  agents — every 
one  of  the  inmates  being  removed  to  prison  on  the  spot.  The  Sub-prefect, 
after  taking  down  my  "proces  verbal"  in  his  office,  returned  with  me  to 
my  hotel  to  get  my  passport.  "Do  you  think,"  I  asked,  as  I  gave  it  to 
him,  "that  any  men  have  really  been  smothered  in  that  bed,  as  they  tried 
to  smother  me?'*. 

"I  have  seen  dozens  of  drowned  men  laid  out  at  the  Morgue,"  an- 
swered the  Sub-prefect,  "in  whose  pocketbooks  were  found  letters  stating 
that  they  had  committed  suicide  in  the  Seine,  because  they  had  lost  every- 
thing at  the  gaming-table.  Do  I  know  how  many  of  those  men  entered 
the  same  gambling-house  that  you  entered?  won  as  you  won?  took  that 
bed  as  you  took  it?  slept  in  it?  were  smothered  in  it?  and  were  privately 
thrown  into  the  river,  with  a  letter  of  explanation  written  by  the  mur- 
derers and  placed  in  their  pocketbooks?  No  man  can  say  how  many  or 
how  few  have  suffered  the  fate  from  which  you  have  escaped.  The 
people  of  the  gambling-house  kept  their  bedstead  machinery  a  secret  from 
us—even  from  the  police!  The  dead  kept  the  rest  of  the  secret  for  them. 
Good-night,  or  rather  good-morning,  Monsieur  Faulkner!  Be  at  my 
office  again  at  nine  o'clock — in  the  meantime,  au  revoir!" 

The  rest  of  my  story  is  soon  told.  I  was  examined  and  reexamined; 
the  gambling-house  was  strictly  searched  all  through  from  top  to  bottom; 
the  prisoners  were  separately  interrogated;  and  two  of  the  less  guilty 


GREAT  BRITAIN— COLLINS  191 

among  them  made  a  confession.  I  discovered  that  the  Old  Soldier  was 
the  master  of  the  gambling-house — justice  discovered  that  he  had  been 
drummed  out  of  the  army  as  a  vagabond  years  ago;  that  he  had  been 
guilty  of  all  sorts  of  villainies  since;  that  he  was  in  possession  of  stolen 
property,  which  the  owners  identified;  and  that  he,  the  croupier,  another 
accomplice,  and  the  woman  who  had  made  my  cup  of  coffee,  were  all 
in  the  secret  of  the  bedstead.  There  appeared  some  reason  to  doubt 
whether  the  inferior  persons  attached  to  the  house  knew  anything  of  the 
suffocating  machinery;  and  they  received  the  benefit  of  that  doubt,  by 
being  treated  simply  as  thieves  and  vagabonds.  As  for  the  Old  Soldier 
and  his  two  head  myrmidons,  they  went  to  the  galleys;  the  woman  who 
had  drugged  my  coffee  was  imprisoned  for  I  forget  how  many  years; 
the  regular  attendants  at  the  gambling-house  were  considered  "suspi- 
cious," and  placed  under  "surveillance";  and  I  became,  for  one  whole 
week  (which  is  a  long  time),  the  head  "lion"  in  Parisian  society.  My 
adventure  was  dramatized  by  three  illustrious  play-makers,  but  never  saw 
theatrical  daylight;  for  the  censorship  forbade  the  introduction  on  the 
stage  of  a  correct  copy  of  the  gambling-house  bedstead. 

One  good  result  was  produced  by  my  adventure,  which  any  censorship 
must  have  approved :  it  cured  me  of  ever  again  trying  "Rouge  et  Noir" 
as  an  amusement.  The  sight  of  a  green  cloth,  with  packs  of  cards  and 
heaps  of  money  on  it,  will  henceforth  be  forever  associated  in  my  mind 
with  the  sight  of  a  bed  canopy  descending  to  suffocate  me  in  the  silence 
and  darkness  of  the  night. 


THOMAS  HARDY  , 

(1840—) 

THOMAS  HARDY  was  born  in  Dorsetshire  in  1840.  At  an  early  age 
he  went  to  Dorchester  to  study  architecture,  and  later  to  London. 
His  first  novel  (published  1871)  was  read  and  appreciated  by 
George  Meredith,  who  saw  it  in  MS.  After  its  publication  Hardy 
returned  to  Dorchester,  where  he  has  lived  for  the  past  half-cen- 
tury. Among  his  many  volumes  of  fiction  there  are  four  collections 
of  short  stories.  Hardy's  chief  qualities — his  grasp  of  character  and 
his  ability  to  create  atmosphere — are  observable  in  his  short  tales 
quite  as  clearly  as  in  his  greater  and  more  extensive  novels. 

The  present  story  is  reprinted,  by  permission  of  the  publisher, 
from  A  Group  of  Noble  Dames,  Macmillan  and  Co, 


19*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

SQUIRE  PETRICK'S  LADY 
(From  A  Group  of  Noble  Dames) 

FOLK  who  are  at  all  acquainted  with  the  traditions  of  Stapleford 
Park  will  not  need  to  be  told  that  in  the  middle  of  the  last  century 
it  was  owned  by  that  trump  of  mortgagees,  Timothy  Petrick,  whose  skill 
in  gaining  possession  of  fair  estates  by  granting  sums  of  money  on  their 
title-deeds  has  seldom  if  ever  been  equaled  in  our  part  of  England. 
Timothy  was  a  lawyer  by  profession,  and  agent  to  several  noblemen,  by 
which  means  his  special  line  of  business  became  opened  to  him  by  a  sort 
of  revelation.  It  is  said  that  a  relative  of  his,  a  very  deep  thinker,  whq 
afterwards  had  the  misfortune  to  be  transported  for  life  for  mistaken 
notions  on  the  signing  of  a  will,  taught  him  considerable  legal  lore, 
which  he  creditably  resolved  never  to  throw  away  for  the  benefit  of 
other  people,  but  to  reserve  it  entirely  for  his  own. 

However,  I  have  nothing  in  particular  to  say  about  his  early  and  active 
days,  but  rather  of  the  time  when,  an  old  man,  he  had  become  the  owner 
of  vast  estates  by  the  means  I  have  signified — among  them  the  great 
manor  of  Stapleford,  on  which  he  lived,  in  the  splendid  old  mansion 
now  pulled  down;  likewise  estates  at  Marlott,  estates  near  Sherton  Abbas, 
nearly  all  the  borough  of  Millpool,  and  many  properties  near  Ivell.  In- 
deed, I  can't  call  to  mind  half  his  landed  possessions,  and  I  don't  know 
that  it  matters  much  at  this  time  of  day,  seeing  that  he's  been  dead  and 
gone  many  years.  It  is  said  that  when  he  bought  an  estate  he  would  not 
decide  to  pay  the  price  till  he  had  walked  over  every  single  acre  with  his 
own  two  feet,  and  prodded  the  soil  at  every  point  with  his  own  spud,  to 
test  its  quality,  which,  if  we  regard  the  extent  of  his  properties,  must 
have  been  a  stiff  business  for  him. 

At  the  time  I  am  speaking  of  he  was  a  man  over  eighty,  and  his  son. 
was  dead;  but  he  had  two  grandsons,  the  eldest  of  whom,  his  namesake, 
was  married,  and  was  shortly  expecting  issue.  Just  then  the  grandfather 
was  taken  ill,  for  death,  as  it  seemed,  considering  his  age.  By  his  will 
the  old  man  had  created  an  entail  (as  I  believe  the  lawyers  call  it), 
devising  the  whole  of  the  estates  to  his  elder  grandson  and  his  issue  male, 
failing  which,  to  his  younger  grandson  and  his  issue  male,  failing  which, 
to  remoter  relatives,  who  need  not  be  mentioned  now. 

While  old  Timothy  Petrick  was  lying  ill,  his  elder  grandson's  wife, 
Annetta,  gave  .birth  to  her  expected  child,  who,  as  fortune  would  have 
it,  was  a  son.  Timothy,  her  husband,  though  sprung  of  a  scheming 
family,  was  no  great  schemer  himself;  he  was  the  single  one  of  the 
Patricks  then  living  whose  heart  had  ever  been  greatly  moved  by  senti- 
ments  which  did  not  run  in  the  groove  of  ambition;  and  on  this  account 


GREAT  BRITAIN— HARDY  193 

he  had  not  married  well,  as  the  saying  is,  his  wife  having  been  the 
daughter  of  a  family  of  no  better  beginnings  than  his  own;  that  is  to 
say,  her  father  was  a  country  townsman  of  the  professional  class.  But 
she  was  a  very  pretty  woman,  by  all  accounts,  and  her  husband  had 
seen,  courted,  and  married  her  in  a  high  tide  of  infatuation,  after  a 
very  short  acquaintance,  and  with  very  little  knowledge  of  her  heart's 
history.  He  had  never  found  reason  to  regret  his  choice  as  yet,  and  his 
anxiety  for  her  recovery  was  great. 

She  was  supposed  to  be  out  of  danger,  and  herself  and  the  child  pro- 
gressing well,  when  there  was  a  change  for  the  worse,  and  she  sank  so 
rapidly  that  she  was  soon  given  over.  When  she  felt  that  she  was  about 
to  leave  him,  Annetta  sent  for  her  husband,  and,  on  his  speedy  entry  and 
assurance  that  they  were  alone,  she  made  him  solemnly  vow  to  give  the 
child  every  care  in  any  circumstances  that  might  arise,  if  it  should  please 
Heaven  to  take  her.  This,  of  course,  he  readily  promised.  Then,  after 
some  hesitation,  she  told  him  that  she  could  not  die  with  a  falsehood 
upon  her  soul,  and  dire  deceit  in  her  life;  she  must  make  a  terrible  con- 
fession .to  him  before  her  lips  were  sealed  forever.  She  thereupon  related 
an  incident  concerning  the  baby's  parentage  which  was  not  as  he  sup- 
posed. 

Timothy  Petrick,  though  a  quick-feeling  man,  was  not  of  a  sort  to 
show  nerves  outwardly;  and  he  bore  himself  as  heroically  as  he  possibly 
could  do  in  this  trying  moment  of  his  life.  That  same  night  his  wife 
died;  and  while  she  lay  dead,  and  before  her  funeral,  he  hastened  to 
the  bedside  of  his  sick  grandfather,  and  revealed  to  him  all  that  had 
happened — the  baby's  birth,  his  wife's  confession,  and  her  death,  be- 
seeching the  aged  man,  as  he  loved  him,  to  bestir  himself  now,  at  the 
eleventh  hour,  and  alter  his  will  so  as  to  dish  the  intruder.  Old  Tim- 
othy, seeing  matters  in  the  same  light  as  his  grandson,  required  no  urging 
against  allowing  anything  to  stand  in  the  way  of  legitimate  inheritance; 
he  executed  another  will,  limiting  the  entail  to  Timothy,  his  grandson, 
for  life,  and  his  male  heirs  thereafter  to  be  born;  after  them  to  his 
other  grandson,  Edward,  and  Edward's  heirs.  Thus  the  newly  born 
infant,  who  had  been  the  center  of  so  many  hopes,  was  cut  off  and 
scorned  as  none  of  the  elect. 

The  old  mortgagee  lived  but  a  short  time  after  this,  the  excitement 
of  the  discovery  having  told  upon  him  considerably,  and  he  was  gath- 
ered to  his  fathers  like  the  most  charitable  man  in  his  neighborhood. 
Both  wife  and  grandparent  being  buried,  Timothy  settled  down  to  .his 
usual  life  as  well  as  he  was  able,  mentally  satisfied  that  he  had,  by 
prompt  action,  defeated  the  consequences  of  such  dire  domestic  treachery 
as  had  been  shown  towards  him,  and  resolving  to  marry  a  second  time 
as  soon  as  he  could  satisfy  himself  in  the  choice  of  a  wife. 

But  men  do  not  always  know  themselves.  The  imbittered  state  of 


194  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Timothy  Patrick's  mind  bred  in  him  by  degrees  such  a  hatred  and  mis- 
trust of  womankind  that,  though  several  specimens  of  high  attractiveness 
came  under  his  eyes,  he  could  not  bring  himself  to  the  point  of  propos- 
ing marriage.  He  dreaded  to  take  up  the  position  of  husband  a  second 
time,  discerning  a  trap  in  every  petticoat,  and  a  Slough  of  Despond  in 
possible  heirs.  "What  has  happened  once,  when  all  seemed  so  fair,  may 
happen  again,"  he  said  to  himself.  "I'll  risk  my  name  no  more."  So  he 
abstained  from  marriage,  and  overcame  his  wish  for  a  lineal  descendant 
to  follow  him  in  the  ownership  of  Staple  ford. 

Timothy  had  scarcely  noticed  the  unfortunate  child  that  his  wife  had 
borne,  after  arranging  for  a  meager  fulfilment  of  his  promise  to  her  to 
take  care  of  the  boy,  by  having  him  brought  up  in  his  house.  Occasion- 
ally, remembering  his  promise,  he  went  and  glanced  at  the  child,  saw 
that  he  was  doing  well,  gave  a  few  special  directions,  and  again  went 
his  solitary  way.  Thus  he  and  the  child  lived  on  in  the  Stapleford  man- 
sion-house till  two  or  three  years  had  passed  by.  One  day  he  was  walking 
in  the  garden,  and  by  some  accident  left  his  snuff-box  on  a  bench.  When 
he  came  back  to  find  it  he  saw  the  little  boy  standing  there;  ,he  had 
escaped  his  nurse,  and  was  making  a  plaything  of  the  box,  in  spite  of 
the  convulsive  sneezings  which  the  game  brought  in  its  train.  Then  the 
man  with  the  incrusted  heart  became  interested  in  the  little  fellow's  per- 
sistence in  his  play  under  such  discomforts;  he  looked  in  the  child's  face, 
saw  there  his  wife's  countenance,  though  he  did  not  see  his  own,  and  fell 
into  thought  on  the  piteousness  of  childhood — particularly  of  despised 
and  rejected  childhood,  like  this  before  him. 

From  that  hour,  try  as  he  would  to  counteract  the  feeling,  the  human 
necessity  to  love  something  or  other  got  the  better  of  what  he  had  called 
his  wisdom,  and  shaped  itself  in  a  tender  anxiety  for  the  youngster 
Rupert.  This  name  had  been  given  him  by  his  dying  mother  when,  at 
her  request,  the  child  was  baptized  in  her  chamber,  lest  he  should  not 
survive  for  public  baptism;  and  her  husband  had  never  thought  of  it  as 
a  name  of  any  significance  till,  about  this  time,  he  learned  by  accident 
that  it  was  the  name  of  the  young  Marquis  of  Christminster,  son  of  the 
Duke  of  Southwesterland,  for  whom  Annetta  had  cherished  warm  feel- 
ings before  her  marriage.  Recollecting  some  wandering  phrases  in  his 
wife's  last  words,  which  he  had  not  understood  at  the  time,  he  perceived 
at  last  that  this  was  the  person  to  whom  she  had  alluded  when  affording 
him  a  clew  to  little  Rupert's  history. 

He  would  sit  in  silence  for  hours  with  the  child,  being  no  great 
speaker  at  the  best  of  times;  but  the  boy,  on  his  part,  was  too  ready 
with  his  tongue  for  any  break  in  discourse  to  arise  because  Timothy 
Petrick  had  nothing  to  say.  After  idling  away  his  mornings  in  this  man- 
ner, Patrick  would  go  to  his  own  room  and  swear  in  long,  loud  whispers, 
and  walk  up  and  down,  calling  himself  the  most  ridiculous  dolt  that 


GREAT  BRITAIN— HARDY  195 

ever  lived,  and  declaring  that  he  would  never  go  near  the  little  fellow 
again;  to  which  resolve  he  would  adhere  for  the  space,  perhaps,  of  a 
day.  ^Such  cases  are  happily  not  new  to  human  nature,  but  there  never 
was  a  case  in  which  a  man  more  completely  befooled  his  former  self 
than  in  this. 

As  the  child  grew  up,  Timothy's  attachment  to  him  grew  deeper,  till 
Rupert  became  almost  the  sole  object  for  which  he  lived.  There  had 
been  enough  of  the  family  ambition  latent  in  him  for  Timothy  Petrick 
to  feel  a  little  envy  when,  some  time  before  this  date,  his  brother  Ed- 
ward had  been  accepted  by  the  Honorable  Harriet  Mountclere,  daughter 
of  the  second  viscount  of  that  name  and  title;  but  having  discovered, 
as  I  have  before  stated,  the  paternity  of  his  boy  Rupert  to  lurk  in  even 
a  higher  stratum  of  society,  those  envious  feelings  speedily  dispersed. 
Indeed,  the  more  he  reflected  thereon,  after  his  brother's  aristocratic 
marriage,  the  more  content  did  he  become.  His  late  wife  took  softer 
outline  in  his  memory,  as  he  thought  of  the  lofty  taste  she  had  displayed, 
though  only  a  plain  burgher's  daughter,  and  the  justification  for  his 
weakness  in  loving  the  child — the  justification  that  he  had  longed  for — 
was  afforded  now  in  the  knowledge  that  the  boy  was  by  nature,  if  not 
by  name,  a  representative  of  one  of  the  noblest  houses  in  England. 

"She  was  a  woman  of  grand  instincts,  after  all,"  he  said  to  himself, 
proudly.  "To»fix  her  choice  upon  the  immediate  successor  in  that  ducal 
line — it  was  finely  conceived!  Had  he  been  of  low  blood  like  myself 
or  my  relations  she  would  scarce  have  deserved  the  harsh  measure  that 
I  have  dealt  out  to  her  and  her  offspring.  How  much  less,  then,  when 
such  groveling  tastes  were  farthest  from  her  soul!  The  man  Annetta 
loved  was  noble,  and  my  boy  is  noble  in  spite  of  me." 

The  after-clap  was  inevitable,  and  it  soon  came.  "So  far,"  he  rea- 
soned, "from  cutting  off  his  child  from  inheritance  of  my  estates,  as  I 
have  done,  I  should  have  rejoiced  in  the  possession  of  him!  He  is  of 
pure  stock  on  one  side  at  least,  while  in  the  ordinary  run  of  affairs  he 
would  have  been  a  commoner  to  the  bone." 

"  Being  a  man,  whatever  his  faults,  of  good  old  beliefs  in  the  divinity 
of  kings  and  those  about  'em,  the  more  he  overhauled  the  case  in  this 
light  the  more  strongly  did  his  poor  wife's  conduct  in  improving  the 
blood  and  breed  of  the  Petrick  family  win  his  heart.  He  considered  what 
ugly,  idle,  hard-drinking  scamps  many  of  his  own  relations  had  been; 
the  miserable  scriveners,  usurers,  and  pawnbrokers  that  he  had  numbered 
among  his  forefathers,  and  the  probability  that  some  of  their  bad  quali- 
ties would  have  come  out  in  a  merely  corporeal  child,  to  give  him  sorrow 
in  his  old  age,  turn  his  black  hairs  gray,  his  gray  hairs  white,  cut  down 
every  stick  of  timber,  and  Heaven  knows  what  all,  had  he  not,  like  a 
this  right-minded  man  fell  down  on  his  knees  every  night  and  morning 
skilful  gardener,  minded  his  grafting  and  changed  the  sort;  till  at  length 


196  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

and  thanked  God  that  he  was  not  as  other  meanly  descended  fathers  in 
such  matters.  v 

It  was  in  the  peculiar  disposition  of  the  Petrick  family  that  the  satis- 
faction which  ultimately  settled  in  Timothy's  breast  found  nourishment. 
The  Petricks  had  adored  the  nobility,  and  plucked  them  at  the  same  time. 
That  excellent  man  Izaak  Walton's  feelings  about  fish  were  much  akin 
to  those  of  old  Timothy  Petrick,  and  of  his  descendants  in  a  lesser 
degree,  concerning  the  landed  aristocracy.  To  torture  and  to  love  simul- 
taneously is  a  proceeding  strange  to  reason,  but  possible  to  practise,  as 
these  instances  show. 

Hence,  when  Timothy's  brother  Edward  said  slightingly  one  day  that 
Timothy's  son  was  well  enough,  but  that  he  had  nothing  but  shops  and 
offices  in  his  backward  perspective,  while  his  own  children,  should  he 
have  any,  would  be  far  different,  in  possessing  such  a  mother  as  the 
Honorable  Harriet,  Timothy  felt  a  bound  of  triumph  within  him  at  the 
power  he  possessed  of  contradicting  that  statement  if  he  chose. 

So  much  was  he  interested  in  his  boy  in  this  new  aspect  that  he  now 
began  to  read  up  chronicles  of  the  illustrious  house  ennobled  as  the  Dukes 
of  Southwesterland,  from  their  very  beginning  in  the  glories  of  the 
Restoration  of  the  blessed  Charles  till  the  year  of  his  own  time.  He 
mentally  noted  their  gifts  from  royalty,  grants  of  lands,  purchases,  inter- 
marriages, plantings,  and  buildings;  more  particularly  their  political  and 
military  achievements,  which  had  been  great,  and  their  performances  in 
arts  and  letters,  which  had  been  by  no  means  contemptible.  He  studied 
prints  of  the  portraits  of  that  family,  and  then,  like  a  chemist  watching 
a  crystallization,  began  to  examine  young  Rupert's  face  for  the  unfold- 
ing of  those  historic  curves  and  shades  that  the  painters  Vandyke  and 
Lely  had  perpetuated  on  canvas. 

When  the  boy  reached  the  most  fascinating  age  of  childhood,  and  his 
shouts  of  laughter  rang  through  Stapleford  House  from  end  to  end,  the 
remorse  that  oppressed  Timothy  Petrick  knew  no  bounds.  Of  all  people 
in  the  world  this  Rupert  was  the  one  on  whom  he  could  have  wished  the 
estates  to  devolve;  yet  Rupert,  by  Timothy's  own  desperate  strategy  at 
the  time  of  his  birth,  had  been  ousted  from  all  inheritance  of  them;  and, 
since  he  did  not  mean  to  remarry,  the  manors  would  pass  to  his  brother 
and  his  brother's  children,  who  would  be  nothing  to  him,  whose  boasted 
pedigree  on  one  side  would  be  nothing  to  his  Rupert's. 

Had  he  only  left  the  first  will  of  his  grandfather  alone! 

His  mind  ran  on  the  wills  continually,  both  of  which  were  in  exist- 
ence, and  the  first,  the  canceled  one,  in  his  own  possession.  Night  after 
night,  when  the  servants  were  all  abed,  and  the  click  of  safety-locks 
sounded  as  loud  as  a  crash,  he  looked  at  that  first  will,  and  wished  it  had 
been  the  second  and  not  the  first. 

The  crisis  came  at  last.  One^  night,  after  having  enjoyed  the  boy's 


GREAT  BRITAIN— HARDY  197 

company  for  hours,  he  could  no  longer  bear  that  his  beloved  Rupert 
should  be  dispossessed,  and  he  committed  the  felonious  deed  of  altering 
the  date  of  the  earlier  will  to  a  fortnight  later,  which  made  its  execution 
appear  subsequent  to  the  date  of  the  second  will  already  proved.  He 
then  boldly  propounded  the  first  will  as  the  second. 

His  brother  Edward  submitted  to  what  appeared  to  be  not  only  incon- 
testible  fact,  but  a  far  more  likely  disposition  of  old  Timothy's  property; 
for,  like  many  others,  he  had  been  much  surprised  at  the  limitations 
defined  in  the  other  will,  having  no  clew  to  their  cause.  He  joined  his 
brother  Timothy  in  setting  aside  the  hitherto  accepted  document,  and 
matters  went  on  in  their  usual  course,  there  being  no  dispositions  in  the 
substituted  will  differing  from  those  in  the  other,  except  such  as  related 
to  a  future  which  had  not  yet  arrived. 

The  years  moved  on.  Rupert  had  not  yet  revealed  the  anxiously  ex- 
pected historic  lineaments  which  should  foreshadow  the  political  abilities 
of  the  ducal  family  aforesaid,  when  it  happened  on  a  certain  day  that 
Timothy  Patrick  made  the  acquaintance  of  a  well-known  physician  of 
Budmouth,  who  had  been  the  medical  adviser  and  friend  of  the  late 
Mrs.  Petrick's  family  for  many  years,  though  after  Annetta's  marriage, 
and  consequent  removal  to  Stapleford,  he  had  seen  no  more  of  her,  the 
neighboring  prattitioner  who  attended  the  Patricks  having  then  become 
her  doctor  as  a%  matter  of  course.  Timothy  was  impressed  by  the  insight 
and  knowledge  disclosed  in  the  conversation  of  the  Budmouth  physician, 
and  the  acquaintance  ripening  to  intimacy,  the  physician  alluded  to  a 
form  of  hallucination  to  which  Annetta's  mother  and  grandmother  had 
been  subject — that  of  believing  in  certain  dreams  as  realities.  He  deli- 
cately inquired  if  Timothy  had  ever  noticed  anything  of  the  sort  in  his 
wife  during  her  lifetime;  he,  the  physician,  had  fancied  that  he  dis- 
cerned germs  of  the  same  peculiarity  in  Annetta  when  he  attended  her 
in  her  girlhood.  One  explanation  begat  another,  till  the  dumbfounded 
Timothy  Petrick  was  persuaded  in  his  own  mind  that  Annetta's  con- 
fession to  him  had  been  based  on  a  delusion. 

"You  look  down  in  the  mouth!"  said  the  doctor,  pausing. 

"A  bit  unmanned.  'Tis  unexpected-like,"  sighed  Timothy. 

But  he  could  hardly  believe  it  possible;  and,  thinking  it  best  to  be 
frank  with  the  doctor,  told  him  the  whole  story  which,  till  now,  he 
had  never  related  to  living  man,  save  his  dying  grandfather.  To  his  sur- 
prise, the  physician  informed  him  that  such  a  form  of  delusion  was  pre- 
cisely what  he  would  have  expected  from  Annetta's  antecedents  at  such 
a  physical  crisis  in  her  life. 

Petrick  prosecuted  his  inquiries  elsewhere;  and  the  upshot  of  his  labors 
was,  briefly,  that  a  comparison  of  dates  and  places  showed  irrefutably 
that  his  poor  wife's  assertion  could  not  possibly  have  foundation  in  fact. 
The  young  Marquis  of  her  tender  passion — a  highly  moral  and  bright- 


198  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

minded  nobleman — had  gone  abroad  the  year  before  Annetta's  marriage, 
and  had  not  returned  until  after  her  death.  The  young  girl's  love  for 
him  had  been  a  -delicate  ideal  dream — no  more.  •  fc 

Timothy  went  home,  and  the  boy  ran  out  to  meet  him;  whereupon 
a  strangely  dismal  feeling  of  discontent  took  possession  of  his  soul.  After 
all,  then,  there  was  nothing  but  plebeian  blood  in  the  veins  of  the  heir 
to  his  name  and  estates;  he  was  not  to  be  succeeded  by  a  noble-natured 
line.  To  be  sure,  Rupert  was  his  son;  but  that  glory  and  halo  he  be- 
lieved him  to  have  inherited  from  the  ages,  outshining  that  of  his 
brother's  children,  had  departed  from  Rupert's  brow  forever;  he  could 
no  longer  read  history  in  the  boy's  face  and  centuries  of  domination  in 
his  eyes. 

His  manner  towards  his  son  grew  colder  and  colder  from  that  day 
forward;  and  it  was  with  bitterness  of  heart  that  he  discerned  the  char- 
acteristic features  of  the  Patricks  unfolding  themselves  by  degrees.  In- 
stead of  the  elegant  knife-edged  nose,  so  typical  of  the  Dukes  of  South- 
westerland,  there  began  to  appear  on  his  face  the  broad  nostril  and  hol- 
low bridge  of  his  grandfather  Timothy.  No  illustrious  line  of  politicians 
was  promised  a  continuator  in  that  graying  blue  eye,  for  it  was  acquiring 
the  expression  of  the  orb  of  a  particularly  objectionable  cousin  of  his 
own;  and,  instead  of  the  mouth-curves  which  had  thrilled  Parliamentary 
audiences  in  speeches  now  bound  in  calf  in  every  well-ordered  library, 
there  was  the  bull-lip  of  that  very  uncle  of  his  who  had.  had  the  mis- 
fortune with  the  signature  of  a  gentleman's  will,  and  had  been  trans- 
ported for  life  in  consequence. 

To  think  how  he  himself,  too,  had  sinned  in  this  same  matter  of  a 
will  for  this  mere  fleshly  reproduction  of  a  wretched  old  uncle  whose 
very  name  he  wished  to  forget!  The  boy's  Christian  name,  even,  was  an 
imposture  and  an  irony,  for  it  implied  hereditary  force  and  brilliancy 
to  which  he  plainly  would  never  attain.  The  consolation  of  real  son- 
ship  was  always  left  him  certainly;  but  he  could  not  help  groaning 
to  himself,  "Why  cannot  a  son  be  one's  own  and  somebody  else's 
likewise?" 

The  Marquis  was  shortly  afterwards  in  the  neighborhood  of  Staple- 
ford,  and  Timothy  Petrick  met  him,  and  eyed  his  noble  countenance 
admiringly.  The  next  day,  when  Petrick  was  in  his  study,  somebody 
knocked  at  the  door. 

"Who's  there?" 

"Rupert." 

"I'll  Rupert  thee,  you  young  impostor!  Say,  only  a  poor  commonplace 
Petrick!"  his  father  grunted.  "Why  didn't  you  have  a  voice  like  the 
Marquis  I  saw  yesterday!"  he  continued,  as  the  lad  came  in.  "Why 
haven't  you  his  looks,  and  a  way  of  commanding  as  if  you'd  done  it 
for  centuries — hey?" 


GREAT  BRITAIN— HARDY  199 

"Why?  How  can  you  expect  it,  father,  when  I'm  not  related  to  him?" 
"Ugh!  Then  you  ought  to  be!"  growled  his  father. 


ROBERT  LOUIS  STEVENSON 

(1850-1894) 

STEVENSON  was  born  at  Edinburgh  in  1850.  He  studied  first  for 
the  law,  and  then  turned  to  writing.  His  earliest  books  were  essays 
and  travel  sketches.  In  the  early  eighties  he  tried  his  hand  at  short 
stories,  and  throughout  his  career  he  turned  often  to  the  short 
story  medium  for  the  expression  of  a  mood  or  the  recounting  of 
a  picturesque  episode.  He  travelled  a  great  deal,  both  in  Europe 
and  in  the  United  States,  and,  ever  in  search  of  a  climate  that 
would  suit  his  frail  health,  he  went  in  1889  to  Samoa,  where  he 
lived  with  his  family  until  his  death  in  1894.  Stevenson  is  a 
romantic  of  the  line  of  Scott  and  Dumas,  but  differing  from  his 
masters  in  that  lie  was  primarily  a  literary  writer,  whose  first  care 
was  the  perfection  of  a  beautiful  style. 

Thrown  Janet  first  appeared  in  a  magazine  in  1882,  and  was 
included  in 'the  volume  The  Merry  Men^  published  in  1886  by 
Chatto  and  »Windus,  by  whose  permission,  and  that  of  Mr.  Lloyd 
Osbourne,  it  is  here  reprinted. 


THRAWN  JANET 

THE  Reverend  Murdoch  Soulis  was  long  minister  of  the  moorland 
parish  of  Bal weary,  in  the  vale  of  Dule.  A  severe,  bleak- faced  old 
man,  dreadful  to  his  hearers,  he  dwelt  in  the  last  years  of  his  life,  with- 
out relative  or  servant  or  any  human  company,  in  the.  small  and  lonely 
manse  under  the  Hanging  Shaw.  In  spite  of  the  iron  composure  of  his 
features,  liis  eye  was  wild,  scared,  and  uncertain;  and  when  he  dwelt, 
in  private  admonitions,  on  the  future  of  the  impenitent,  it  seemed  as  if 
his  eye  pierced  through  the  storms  of  time  to  the  terrors  of  eternity. 
Many  young  persons,  coming  to  prepare  themselves  against  the  season  of 
the  Holy*'  Communion,  were  dreadfully  affected  by  his  talk.  He  had  a 
sermon  on  1st  Peter,  v.  and  8th,  "The  devil  as  a  roaring  lion,'*  on  the 
Sunday  after  every  seventeenth  of  August,  and  he  was  accustomed  to 
surpass  himself  upon  that  text  both  by  the  appalling  nature  of  the  matter 
and  the  terror  of  his  bearing  in  the  pulpit.  The  children  were  frightened 
into  fits,  and  the  old  looked  more  than  usually  oracular,  and  were,  all 
that  day,  full  of  those  hints  that  Hamlet  deprecated.  The  manse  itself, 
where  it  stood  by  the  water  of  Dule  among  some  thick  trees,  with  the 


aoo  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Shaw  overhanging  it  on  the  one  side,  and  on  the  other  many  cold, 
moorish  hilltops  rising  toward  the  sky,  had  begun,  at  a  very  early  period 
of  Mr.  Soulis's  ministry,  to  be  avoided  in  the  dusk  hours  by  ^11  who 
valued  themselves  upon  their  prudence;  and  guidmen  sitting  at  the 
clachan  alehouse  shook  their  heads  together  at  the  thought  of  passing 
late  by  that  uncanny  neighborhood.  There  was  one  spot,  to  be  more  par- 
ticular, which  was  regarded  with  especial  awe.  The  manse  stood  between 
the  high  road  and  the  water  of  Dule,  with  a  gable  to  each;  its  back  was 
toward  the  kirktown  of  Bal weary,  nearly  half  a  mile  away;  in  front 
of  it,  a  bare  garden,  hedged  with  thorn,  occupied  the  land  between  the 
river  and  the  road.  The  house  was  two  stories  high,  with  two  large  rooms 
on  each.  It  opened  not  directly  on  the  garden,  but  on  a  causewayed  path, 
or  passage,  giving  on  the  road  on  the  one  hand,  and  closed  on  the  other 
by  the  tall  willows  and  elders  that  bordered  on  the  stream.  And  it  was 
this  strip  of  causeway  that  enjoyed  among  the  young  parishioners  of  Bal- 
weary  so  infamous  a  reputation.  The  minister  walked  there  often  after 
dark,  sometimes  groaning  aloud  in  the  instancy  of  his  unspoken  prayers; 
and  when  he  was  from  home,  and  the  manse  door  was  locked,  the  more 
daring  schoolboys  ventured,  with  beating  hearts,  to  "follow  my  leader1* 
across  that  legendary  spot. 

This  atmosphere  of  terror,  surrounding,  as  it  did,  a  man  of  God  of 
spotless  character  and  orthodoxy,  was  a  common  cause  ^>f  wonder  and 
subject  of  inquiry  among  the  few  strangers  v/ho  were  led  by  chance  or 
business  into  that  unknown,  outlying  country.  But  many  even*  of  the 
people  of  the  parish  were  ignorant  of  the  strange  events  which  had 
marked  the  first  year  of  Mr.  Soulis's  ministrations;  and  among  those 
who  were  better  informed,  some  were  naturally  reticent,  and  others  shy 
of  that  particular  topic.  Now  and  again,  only,  one  of  the  older  folk 
would  warm  into  courage  over  his  third  tumbler,  and  recount  the  cause 
of  the  minister's  strange  looks  and  solitary  life. ' 

Fifty  years  syne,  when  Mr.  Soulis  cam9  first  into  Ba'weary,  he  was 
still  a  young  man — a  callant,  the  folk  said — fu'  o'  book  learnin'  and 
grand  at  the  exposition,  but,  as  was  natural  in  sae  young  a  man,  wi'  nae 
leevin*  experience  in  religion.  The  younger  sort  were  greatly  taken  wP 
his  gifts  and  his  gab;  but  auld,  concerned,  serious  men  and  women  were 
moved  even  to  prayer  for  the  young  man,  whom  they  took  to  be  a  self- 
deceiver,  and  the  parish  that  was  like  to  be  sae  ill-supplied.  It  was  before 
the  days  o*  the  moderates — weary  fa'  them;  but  ill  things  are  like,  guid 
—•they  baith  come  bit  by  bit,  a  pickle  at  a  time;  and  there  were  folk 
even  then  that  said  the  Lord  had  left  the  college  professors  to  their  ata 
devices,  an'  the  lads  that  went  to  study  wi'  them  wad  hae  done  mair 
and  better  sittin'  in  a  peat-bog,  like  their  forebears  of  the  persecution, 
3ri'  a  Bible  under  their  oxter  and  a  speerit  o'  prayer  in  their  heart.  There 


GREAT  BRITAIN— STEVENSON  201 

was  nac  doubt,  onyway,  but  that  Mr.  Soulis  had  been  ower  lang  at  the 
college.  He  was  careful  and  troubled  for  mony  things  besides  the  ae 
thing  needful.  He  had  a  feck  o'  books  wi'  him — mair  than  had  ever 
been  s£en  before  in  a'  that  presbytery;  and  a  sair  wark  the  carrier  had 
wi*  them,  for  they  were  a'  like  to  have  smoored  in  the  DeiTs  Hag  be- 
tween this  and  Kilmackerlie.  They  were  books  o'  divinity,  to  be  sure,  or 
so  they  ca'd  them;  but  the  serious  were  o'  opinion  there  was  little  service 
for  sae  mony,  when  the  hail  o'  God's  Word  would  gang  in  the  neuk  of 
a  plaid.  Then  he  wad  sit  half  the  day  and  half  the  nicht  forbye,  which 
was  scant  decent — writin',  nae  less;  and  first,  they  were  feared  he  wad 
read  his  sermons;  and  syne  it  proved  he  was  writin*  a  book  himsel',  which 
was  surely  no  fittin'  for  ane  of  his  years  an'  sma*  experience. 

Onyway  it  behooved  him  to  get  an  auld,  decent  wife  to  keep  the 
manse  for  him  an*  see  to  his  bit  denners;  and  he  was  recommended  to 
an  auld  limmer — Janet  M'Clour,  they  ca'd  her — and  sae  far  left  to 
himsel'  as  to  be  ower  persuaded.  There  was  mony  advised  him  to  the 
contrar,  for  Janet  was  mair  than  suspeckit  by  the  best  folk  in  Ba'weary. 
Lang  or  that,  she  had  had  a  wean  to  a  dragoon;  she  hadnae  come  forrit 
for  maybe  thretty  year;  and  bairns  had  seen  her  mumblin'  to  hersel'  up 
on  Key's  Loan  in  the  gloamin',  whilk  was  an  unco  time  an*  place  for  a 
God-fearin'  woman.  Howsoever,  it  was  the  laird  himsel'  that  had  first 
tauld  the  minister  o'  Janet;  and  in  thae  days  he  wad  have  gane  a  far 
gate  to  pleesure  the  laird.  When  folk  tauld  him  that  Janet  was  sib  to 
the  deil,  it  was  a*  superstition  by  his  way  of  it;  an'  when  they  cast  up 
the  Bible  to  him  an'  the  witch  of  Endor,  he  wad  threep  it  doun  their 
thrapples  that  thir  days  were  a*  gane  by,  and  the  deil  was  mercifully 
restrained. 

Weel,  when  it  got  about  the  clachan  that  Janet  M'Ciour  was  to  be 
servant  at  the  manse,  the  folk  were  fair  mad  wi'  her  an'  him  thegether; 
and  some  o'  the  guidwives  had  nae  better  to  dae  than  get  round  her  door 
cheeks  and  chairge  her  wi'  a'  that  was  ken't  again  her,  f  rae  the  sodger's 
bairn  to  John  Tamson's  twa  kye.  She  was  nae  great  speaker;  folk  usually 
let  her  gang  her  ain  gate,  an'  she  let  them  gang  theirs,  wi'  neither  Fair- 
guid-een  nor  Fair-guid-day;  but  when  she  buckled  to  she  had  a  tongue 
to  deave  the  miller.  Up  she  got,  an'  there  wasnae  an  auld  story  in 
Ba' weary  but  she  gart  somebody  lowp  for  it  that  day;  they  couldnae  say 
ae  thing  but  she  could  say  twa  to  it;  till,  at  the  hinder  end,  the  guid- 
wives up  and  claught  haud  of  her,  and  clawed  the  coats  aff  her  back, 
and  pu'd  her  doun  the  clachan  to  the  water  o'  Dule,  to  see  if  she  were 
a  witch  or  no,  soum  or  droun.  The  carline  skirled  till  ye  could  hear  her 
at  the  Hangin*  Shaw,  and  she  focht  like  ten;  there  was  mony  a  guid- 
wife  bure  the  mark  of  her  neist  day,  an'  mony  a  lang  day  after;  and 
just  in  the  hettest  o'  the  collieshangie,  wha  suld  come  up  (for  his  sins) 
but  the  new  minister. 


aoa  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

"Women,"  said  he  (and  he  hail  a  grand  voice),  "I  charge  you  in  the 
Lord's  name  to  let  her  go." 

Janet  ran  to  him — she  was  fair  wud  wi'  terror — an*  clang  to  him  an* 
prayed  him,  for  Christ's  sake,  save  her  frae  the  cummers;  an1  thtey,  for 
their  pairt,  tauld  him  a9  that  was  ken't,  and  maybe  mair. 

"Woman,"  says  he  to  Janet,  "i$  this  true?" 

"As  the  Lord  sees  me,"  says  she,  "as  the  Lord  made  me,  no  a  word 
o't.  Forbye  the  bairn,"  says  she,  "I've  been  a  decent  woman  a*  my  days." 

"Will  ^ou,"  says  Mr.  Soulis,  "in  the  name  of  God,  and  before  me, 
His  unworthy  minister,  renounce  the  devil  and  his  works?" 

Weel,  it  wad  appear  that  when  he  askit  that,  she  gave  a  girn  that 
fairly  frichtit  them  that  saw  her,  an*  they  could  hear  her  teeth  play  dirl 
thegether  in  her  chafts;  but  there  was  naething  for  it  but  the  ae  way  or 
the  ither;  an*  Janet  lifted  up  her  hand  and  renounced  the  deil  before 
them  a*. 

"And  now,"  said  Mr.  Soulis  to  the  guidwives,  "home  with  ye,  one 
and  all,  and  pray  to  God  for  His  forgiveness." 

And  he  gied  Janet  his  arm,  though  she  had  little  on  her  but  a  sark, 
and  took  her  up  the  clachan  to  her  ain  door  like  a  leddy  of  the  land; 
an*  her  skreighin*  and  laughin'  as  was  a  scandal  to  be  heard. 

There  were  mony  grave  folk  lang  ower  their  prayers  that  nicht;  but 
when  the  morn  cam'  there  was  sic  a  fear  fell  upon  a*  Ba'weary  that  the 
bairns  hid  theirsels,  and  even  the  men-folk  stood  and  keekit  frae  their 
doors.  For  there  was  Janet  comin*  doun  the  clachan — her  or  her  like- 
ness, nane  could  tell — wi*  her  neck  thrawn,  and  her  heid  on  ae  side,  like 
a  body  that  has  been  hangit,  and  a  girn  on  her  face  like  an  un- 
streakit  corp.  By  an*  by  they  got  used  wi'  it,  and  even  speered  at  her 
to  ken  what  was  wrang;  but  frae  that  day  forth  she  couldnae  speak 
like  a  Christian  woman,  but  slavered  and  played  click  wi*  her  teeth  like 
a  pair  o*  shears;  and  frae  that  day  forth  the  name  o*  God  cam*  never 
on  her  lips.  Whiles  she  wad  try  to  say  it,  but  it  michtnae  be.  Them  that 
kenned  best  said  least;  but  they  never  gied  that  Thing  the  name  o'  Janet 
M'Clour;  for  the  auld  Janet,  by  their  way  o't,  was  in  muckle  hell  that 
day.  But  the  minister  was  neither  to  haud  nor  to  bind;  he  preached  about 
naething  but  the  folks*  cruelty  that  had  gi'en  her  a  stroke  of  the  palsy; 
he  skelpt  the  bairns  that  meddled  her;  and  he  had  her  up  to  the  manse 
that  same  nicht  and  dwalled  there  a*  his  lane  wi'  her  under  the  Hangin* 
Shaw. 

Weel,  time  gaed  by:  and  the  idler  sort  commenced  to  think  mair 
lichtly  o*  that  black  business.  The  minister  was  weel  thocht  o';  he  was 
aye  late  at  the  writing,  folk  wad  see  his  can'le  doun  by  the  Dule  water 
after  twal*  at  e'en;  and  he  seemed  pleased  wi'  himsel*  and  upsitten  as 
at  first,  though  a*  body  could  see  that  he  was  dwining.  As  for  Janet  she 
cam*  an*  she  gaed;  if  she  didnae  speak  muckle  afore,  it  was  reason  she 


GREAT  BRITAIN— STEVENSON  '  203 

should  speak  less  then;  she  meddled  naebody;  but  she  was  an  eldritch 
thing  to  see,  an*  nane  wad  hae  mistrysted  wi'  her  for  Ba'weary  glebe. 
About  the  end  o'  July  there  cam*  a  spell  o'  weather,  the  like  o't  never  was 
in  that  countryside;  it  was  lown  an*  het  an*  heartless;  the  herds  couldnae 
win  up  the  Black  Hill,  the  bairns  were  ower  weariet  to  play;  an*  yet  it 
was  gousty  too,  wi'  claps  o'  het  wund  that  rumm'led  in  the  glens,  and 
bits  o'  shouers  that  sleekened  naething.  We  aye  thocht  it  but  to  thun'er 
on  the  morn;  but  the  morn  cam',  and  the  morn's  morning,  and  it  was 
aye  the  same  uncanny  weather,  sair  on  folks  and  bestial.  Of  a1  that 
were  the  waur,  nane  suffered  like  Mr.  Soulis;  he  could  neither  sleep 
nor  eat,  he  tauld  his  elders;  an*  when  he  wasnae  writin'  at  his  weary 
book,  he  wad  be  stravaguin'  ower  a'  the  countryside  like  a  man  possessed, 
when  a'  body  else  was  blythe  to  keep  caller  ben  the  house. 

Abune  Hangin'  Shaw,  in  the  bield  o'  the  Black  Hill,  there's  a  bit  in- 
closed grund  wi'  an  iron  yett;  and  it  seems  in  the  auld  days,  that  was 
the  kirkyaird  o'  Ba' weary,  and  consecrated  by  the  Papists  before  the 
blessed  licht  shone  upon  the  kingdom.  It  was  a  great  howff  o'  Mr. 
Soulis's,  onyway;  there  he  would  sit  an'  consider  his  sermons;  and  in- 
deed it's  a  bieldy  bit.  Weel,  as  he  cam'  ower  the  wast  end  o'  the  Black 
Hill,  ae  day,  he  saw  first  twa,  an'  syne  fower,  an'  syne  seeven  corbie 
craws  fleein'  round  an'  round  abune  the  auld  kirkyaird.  They  flew  laigh 
and  heavy,  an'  squawked  to  ither  as  they  gaed;  and  it  was  clear  to  Mr. 
Soulis  that  something  had  put  them  frae  their  ordinar.  He  wasnae  easy 
fleyed,  an*  gaed  straucht  up  to  the  wa's;  an'  what  suld  he  find  there  but 
a  man,  or  the  appearance  of  a  man,  sittin'  in  the  inside  upon  a  grave. 
He  was  of  a  great  stature,  an'  black  as  hell,  and  his  ecn  were  singular 
to  see.  Mr.  Soulis  had  heard  tell  o'  black  men,  mony's  the  time;  but 
there  was  something  unco  about  this  black  man  that  daunted  him.  Het 
as  he  was,  he  took  a  kind  o'  cauld  grue  in  the  marrow  o'  his  banes;  but 
up  he  spak  for  a'  that;  an'  says  he:  "My  friend,  are  you  a  stranger  in 
this  place?"  The  black  man  answered  never  a  word;  he  got  upon  his 
feet,  an'  begude  to  hirstle  to  the  wa'  on  the  far  side;  but  he  aye  lookit 
at  the  minister;  an'  the  minister  stood  an'  lookit  back,  till  a*  in  a  meenute 
the  black  man  was  over  the  wa'  an*  rinnin'  for  the  bield  o'  the  trees. 
Mr.  Soulis,  he  hardly  kenned  why,  ran  after  him;  but  he  was  sair  for- 
jaskit  wi'  his  walk  an'  the  het,  unhalesome  weather;  and  rin  as  he  likit, 
he  got  nae  mair  than  a  glisk  o'  the  black  man  amang  the  birks,  till  he 
won  doun  to  the  foot  o'  the  hillside,  an'  there  he  saw  him  ance  mair, 
gaun,  hap,  step,  an'  lowp,  ower  Dule  water  to  the  manse. 

Mr.  Soulis  wasnae  weel  pleased  that  this  fearsome  gangrel  suld  mak' 
sae  free  wi'  Ba' weary  manse;  an'  he  ran  the  harder,  an',  wet  shoon,  ower 
the  burn,  an*  up  the  walk;  but  the  deil  a  black  man  was  there  to  see.  He 
stepped  out  upon  the  road,  but  there  was  naebody  there;  he  gaed  a'  ower 
the  gairden,  but  na,  nae  black  man.  At  the  hinder  end,  and  a  bit  feared 


204  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

as  was  but  natural,  he  lifted  the  hasp  and  into  the  manse;  and  there  was 
Janet  M'Clour  before  his  een,  wi*  her  thrawn  craig,  and  nane  sae  pleased 
to  see  him.  And  he  aye  minded  sinsyne,  when  first  he  set  his  een  upon 
her,  he  had  the  same  cauld  and  deidly  grue.  * 

"Janet,"  says  he,  "have  you  seen  a  black  man?" 

"A  black  man?"  quo*  she.  "Save  us  a'!  Ye*re  no  wise,  minister. 
There's  nae  black  man  in  a*  Ba'weary." 

But  she  didnae  speak  plain,  ye  maun  understand;  but  yam-yammered, 
like  a  powney  wi'  the  bit  in  its  moo. 

"Weel,"  says  he,  "Janet,  if  there  was  nae  black  man,  I  have  spoken 
with  the  Accuser  of  the  Brethren." 

And  he  sat  down  like  ane  wi'  a  fever,  an*  his  teeth  chittered  in  his  heid, 

"Hoots,"  says  she,  "think  shame  to  yoursel',  minister";  an*  gied  him 
a  drap  brandy  that  she  keept  aye  by  her. 

Syne  Mr.  Soulis  gaed  into  his  study  amang  a*  his  books.  It's  a  lang, 
laigh,  mirk  chalmer,  perishin'  cauld  in  winter,  an*  no  very  dry  even  in 
the  tap  o*  the  simmer,  for  the  manse  stands  near  the  burn.  Sae  doun  he 
sat,  and  thocht  of  a*  that  had  come  an*  gane  since  he  was  in  Ba'weary, 
an*  his  hame,  an'  the  days  when  he  was  a  bairn  an*  ran  daffin*  on  the 
braes;  and  that  black  man  aye  ran  in  his  heid  like  the  owercome  of  a 
sang.  Aye  the  mair  he  thocht,  the  mair  he  thocht  o*  the  black  man.  He 
tried  the  prayer,  an*  the  words  wouldnae  come  to  him;  an*  he  tried,  they 
say,  to  write  at  his  book,  but  he  couldnae  male'  nae  maif  o*  that.  There 
was  whiles  he  thocht  the  black  man  was  at  his  oxter,  an*  the  swat  stood 
upon  him  cauld  as  well-water;  and  there  was  other  whiles,  when  he 
cam*  to  himself  like  a  christened  bairn  and  minded  naething. 

The  upshot  was  that  he  gaed  to  the  window  an*  stood  glowrin*  at 
Dule  water.  The  trees  are  unco  thick,  an*  the  water  lies  deep  an*  black 
under  the  manse;  an*  there  was  Janet  washin*  the  cla'es  wi'  her  coats 
kilted.  She  had  her  back  to  the  minister,  an*  he,  for  his  pairt,  hardly 
kenned  what  he  was  lookin*  at.  Syne  she  turned  round  an*  shawed  her 
face;  Mr.  Soulis  had  the  same  cauld  grue  as  twice  that  day  afore,  an*  it 
was  borne  in  upon  him  what  folk  said,  that  Janet  was  deid  lang  syne, 
an*  this  was  a  bogle  in  her  clay  cauld  flesh.  He  drew  back  a  pickle  and 
he  scanned  her  narrowly.  She  was  tramp-trampin*  in  the  cla'es,  croonin* 
to  hersel';  and  eh!  Gude  guide  us,  but  it  was  a  fearsome  face.  Whiles 
she  sang  louder,  but  there  was  nae  man  born  o*  woman  that  could  tell 
the  words  o*  her  sang;  an*  whiles  she  lookit  side-lang  doun,  but  there 
was  naething  there  for  her  to  look  at.  There  gaed  a  scunner  through 
the  flesh  upon  his  banes;  and  that  was  Heeven's  advertisement.  But  Mr. 
Soulis  just  blamed  himsel',  he  said,  to  think  sae  ill  of  a  puir,  auld 
afflicted  wife  that  hadnae  a  freend  forby  himsel';  and  he  put  up  a  bit 
prayer  for  him  and  her,  an*  drank  a  little  caller  water — for  his  heart 
rose  again  the  meat — an'  gaed  up  to  his  naked  bed  in  the  gloaming. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— STEVENSON  '    405 

That  was  a  nicht  that  has  never  been  forgotten  in  Ba'weary,  the 
nicht  o*  the  seeventeenth  of  August,  seeventeen  hun*er  an*  twal*.  It 
had  been  het  afore,  as  I  hae  said,  but  that  nicht  it  was  hetter  than  ever. 
The*sun  gaed  doun  amang  unco-lookin*  clouds;  it  fell  as  mirk  as  the 
pit;  no  a  star,  no  a  breath  o*  wund;  ye  couldnae  see  your  han*  before 
your  face,  and  even  the  auld  folk  cuist  the  covers  f rae  their  beds  and 
lay  pechin*  for  their  breath.  Wi'  a'  that  he  had  upon  his  mind,  it  was 
gey  and  unlikely  Mr.  Soulis  wad  get  muckle  sleep.  He  lay  an*  he  tum- 
mled;  the  gude,  caller  bed  that  he  got  into  brunt  his  very  banes;  whiles 
he  slept,  and  whiles  he  waukened;  whiles  he  heard  the  time  o'  nicht,  and 
whiles  a  tyke  yowlin*  up  the  muir,  as  if  somebody  was  deid;  whiles  he 
thocht  he  heard  bogles  claverin'  in  his  lug,  an'  whiles  he  saw  spunkies  in 
the  room.  He  behooved,  he  judged,  to  be  sick;  an*  sick  he  was — little  he 
jaloosed  the  sickness. 

At  the  hinder  end,  he  got  a  clearness  in  his  mind,  sat  up  in  his  sark 
on  the  bedside,  and  fell  thinkin'  ance  mair  o'  the  black  man  an'*  Janet. 
He  couldnae  weel  tell  how — maybe  it  was  the  cauld  to  his  feet — but  it 
cam*  in  upon  him  wi'  a  spate  that  there  was  some  connection  between 
thir  twa,  an*  that  either  or  baith  o*  them  were  bogles.  And  just  at  that 
moment,  in  Janet*s  room,  which  was  neist  to  his,  there  cam*  a  stramp  o* 
feet  as  if  men  were  wars'lin',  an*  then  a  loud  bang;  an*  then  a  wund 
gaed  reishling* round  the  fower  quarters  of  the  house;  an*  then  a*  was 
aince  mair  as^eelent  as  the  grave. 

Mr.  Soulis  was  feared  fx>r  neither  man  nor  deevil.  He  got  his  tinder 
box,  an*  lighted  a  can'le,  an*  made  three  steps  o't  ower  to  Janet*s  door. 
It  was  on  the  hasp,  an*  he  pushed  it  open,  an*  keeked  bauldly  in.  It  was 
a  big  room,  as  big  as  the  minister's  ain,  an*  plenished  wi*  grand,  auld, 
solid  gear,  for  he  had  naething  else.  There  was  a  fower-posted  bed  wi* 
auld  tapestry;  and  a  braw  cabinet  of  aik,  that  was  fu*  o*  the  minister's 
divinity  books,  an*  put  there  to  be  out  o*  the  gate;  an*  a  wheen  duds  o' 
Janet*s  lying  here  and  there  about  the  floor.  But  nae  Janet  could  Mr. 
Soulis  see;  nor  ony  sign  of  a  contention.  In  he  gaed  (an*  there's  few 
that  wad  ha'e  followed  him)  an*  lookit  a*  round,  an*  listened.  But  there 
was  naethin*  to  be  heard,  neither  inside  the  manse  nor  in  a*  Ba'weary 
parish,  an*  naethin'  to  be  seen  but  the  muckle  shadows  turnin*  round  the 
can*le.  An*  then  a*  at  aince,  the  minister's  heart  played  dunt  an'  stood 
stock-still;  an*  a  cauld  wund  blew  amang  the  hairs  o'  his  heid.  Whaten 
a  weary  sicht  was  that  for  the  puir  man's  een!  For  there  was  Janet 
hangin*  frae  a  nail  beside  the  auld  aik  cabinet:  her  heid  aye  lay  on  her 
shouther,  her  een  were  steeked,  the  tongue  projekit  frae  her  mouth,  and 
her  heels  were  twa  feet  clar  abune  the  floor. 

"God  forgive  us  all!*'  thocht  Mr.  Soulis;  "poor  Janet's  dead." 

He  cam*  a  step  nearer  to  the  corp;  an*  then  his  heart  fair  whammled 
in  his  inside.  For  by  what  cantrip  it  wad  ill-beseem  a  man  to  judge,  she 


206  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

was  hingin'  fae  a  single  nail  an*  by  a  single  wursted  thread  for  darnin' 
hose. 

It's  an  awfu'  thing  to  be  your  lane  at  nicht  wi'  siccan  prodigies  o* 
darkness;  but  Mr.  Soulis  was  strong  in  the  Lord.  He  turned  an*  gaad  his 
ways  oot  o'  that  room,  and  lockit  the  door  ahint  him;  and  step  by  step, 
doon  the  stairs,  as  heavy  as  leed;  and  set  doon  the  can'le  on  the  table  at 
the  stairfoot.  He  couldnae  pray,  he  couldnae  think,  he  was  dreepin'  wi' 
caul*  swat,  an*  naething  could  he  hear  but  the  dunt-dunt-duntin'  o'  his 
ain  heart.  He  micht  maybe  have  stood  there  an  hour,  or  maybe  twa,  he 
minded  sae  little;  when  a'  o'  a  sudden  he  heard  a  laigh,  uncanny  steer 
upstairs;  a  foot  gaed  to  an*  fro  in  the  cha'mer  whaur  the  corp  was 
hingin';  syne  the  door  was  opened,  though  he  minded  weel  that  he  had 
lockit  it;  an9  syne  there  was  a  step  upon  the  landin9,  an'  it  seemed  to 
him  as  if  the  corp  was  lookin'  ower  the  rail  and  doun  upon  him  whaur 
he  stood. 

He  took  up  the  can'le  again  (for  he  couldnae  want  the  licht)  and,  as 
saf tly  as  ever  he  could,  gaed  straucht  out  o'  the  manse  an'  to  the  far  end 
o'  the  causeway.  It  was  aye  pitmirk;  the  flame  o'  the  can'le,  when  he  set 
it  on  the  grund,  brunt  steedy  and  clear  as  in  a  room;  naething  moved, 
but  the  Dule  water  seepin'  and  sabbin'  doon  the  glen,  an'  yon  unhaly 
footstep  that  cam'  ploddin'  doun  the  stairs  inside  the  manse.  He  kenned 
the  foot  ower  weel,  for  it  was  Janet's;  and  at  ilka  step  that  cam'  a  wee 
thing  nearer,  the  cauld  got  deeper  in  his  vitals.  He  commanded  his  soul 
to  Him  that  made  an'  keepit  him;  "and  O  Lord,"  said  he,  "give  me 
strength  this  night  to  war  against  the  powers  of  evil." 

By  this  time  the  foot  was  comin'  through  the  passage  for  the  door; 
he  could  hear  a  hand  skirt  alang  the  wa',  as  if  the  fearsome  thing  was 
feelin'  for  its  way.  The  saughs  tossed  an'  maned  thegether,  a  lang  sigh 
cam'  ower  the  hills,  the  flame  o'  the  can'le  was  blawn  aboot;  an'  there 
stood  the  corp  of  Thrawn  Janet,  wi'  her  grogram  goun  an'  her  black 
mutch,  wi'  the  heid  aye  upon  the  shouther,  an'  the  girn  still  upon  the 
face  o't — leevin',  ye  wad  hae  said — deid,  as  Mr.  Soulis  weel  kenned — 
upon  the  threshold  o'  the  manse. 

It's  a  strange  thing  that  the  saul  of  man  should  be  that  thirled  into 
his  perishable  body;  but  the  minister  saw.  that,  an*  his  heart  didnae 
break. 

She  didnae  stand  there  lang;  she  began  to  move  again  an*  cam1  slowly 
toward  Mr.  Soulis  whaur  he  stood  under  the  saughs.  A'  the  life  o'  his 
body,  a'  the  strength  o'  his  speerit,  were  glowerin'  f rae  his  een.  It  seemed 
she  was  gaun  to  speak,  but  wanted  words,  an'  made  a  sign  wi'  the  left 
hand.  There  cam*  a  clap  o'  wund,  like  a  cat's  fuff;  oot  gaed  the  can'le, 
the  saughs  skrieghed  like  folk;  an'  Mr.  Soulis  kenned  that,  live  or  die, 
this  was  the  end  o't. 

"Witch,  beldam,  devil!"  he  cried,  "I  charge  you,  by  the  power  of 


GREAT  BRITAIN— STEVENSON  207 

God,  begone — if  you  be  dead,  to  the  grave — if  you  be  damned,  to  hell." 
An*  at  that  moment  the  Lord's  ain  hand  out  o'  the  Heevens  struck 
the  Horror  whaur  it  stood;  the  auld,  deid,  desecrated  corp  o'  the  witch- 
wife*,  sae  lang  keepit  frae  the  grave  and  hirsled  round  by  deils,  lowed  up 
like  a  brunstane  spunk  and  fell  in  ashes  to  the  grund;  the  thunder  fol- 
lowed, peal  on  dirling  peal,  the  rairing  rain  upon  the  back  o'  that;  and 
Mr.  Soulis  lowped  through  the  garden  hedge,  and  ran,  wi'  skelloch  upon 
skelloch,  for  the  clachan. 

That  same  mornin',  John  Christie  saw  the  Black  Man  pass  the  Muckle 
Cairn  as  it  was  chappin'  six;  before  eicht,  he  gaed  by  the  change-house 
at  Knockdow;  an'  no  lang  after,  Sandy  M'Lellan  saw  him  gaun  linkin* 
doun  the  braes  frae  Kilmackerlie.  There's  little  doubt  it  was  him  that 
dwalled  sae  lang  in  Janet's  body;  but  he  was  awa*  at  last;  and  sinsyne 
the  deil  has  never  fashed  us  in  Ba'weary. 

But  it  was  a  sair  dispensation  for  the  minister;  lang,  lang  he  lay 
ravin'  in  his  bed;  and  frae  that  hour  to  this,  he  was  the  man  ye  ken 
the  day. 


OSCAR  WILDE 

f 

-.  (1854-1900) 

WILDE  was  born  in  Dublin  in  1854,  the  son  of  distinguished  par- 
ents. His  mother,  Lady  Wilde,  was  famous  for  her  volumes  of 
Irish  stories.  Wilde  went  first  to  Trinity  College,  Dublin,  and  later 
to  Oxford.  His  first  published  work  was  a  volume  of  poems 
in  1 88 1.  From  that  time  until  1895  he  wrote  plays,  poems,  essays, 
a  novel,  and  several  short  stories  and  fairy  talcs.  Wilde's  jewelled 
style  was  never  employed  to  better  purpose  than  in  the  group  of 
tales  from  which  The  SelfisA  Giant  has  been  selected.  In  1895 
he  was  sentenced  to  two  years'  hard  labor  as  a  result  of  a  notorious 
trial.  After  his  release  he  travelled  in  Italy  and  France,  and  died 
in  1900  at  Paris. 

The  Se/fisA  Giant  is  reprinted,  by  permission  of  Mr.  Philip  Nutt, 
from  The  Hapfy  Prince  and  Other  Tales,  published  by  Gerald 
Duckworth  and  Co.  in  1885. 


THE  SELFISH  GIANT 

TTpVERY  afternoon,  as  they  were  coming  from  school,  the  children 
JLdf   used  to  go  and  play  in  the  Giant's  garden. 

It  was  a  large  lovely  garden,  with  soft  green  grass.  Here  and  there 
over  the  grass  stood  beautiful  flowers  like  stars,  and  there  were  twelve 


208  GREAT.  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

peach-trees  that  in  the  Spring-time  broke  out  into  delicate  Blossoms  of 
pink  and  pearl,  and  in  the  autumn  bore  rich  fruit.  The  birds  sat  on  the 
trees  and  sang  so  sweetly  that  the  children  used  to  stop  their  games  in 
order  to  listen  to  them.  "How  happy  we  are  here!"  they  cried  to 'each 
other. 

One  day  the  Giant  came  back.  He  had  been  to  visit  his  friend  the 
Cornish  ogre,  and  had  stayed  with  him  for  seven  years.  After  the  seven 
years  were  over  he  had  said  all  that  he  had  to  say,  for  his  conversation  was 
limited,  and  he  determined  to  return  to  his  own  castle.  When  he  arrived 
he  saw  the  children  playing  in  the  garden. 

"What  are  you  doing  there?"  he  cried  in  a  very  gruff  voice,  and  the 
children  ran  away. 

"My  own  garden  is  my  own  garden,"  said  the  Giant;  "anyone  can 
understand  that,  and  I  will  allow  nobody  to  play  in  it  but  myself."  So 
he  built  a  high  wall  all  round  it,  and  put  up  a  notice-board. 


TRESPASSERS 

WILL    BE 
PROSECUTED 


He  was  a  very  selfish  Giant.  *• 

The  poor  children  had  now  nowhere  to  play.  They  tried  to  play  on 
the  road,  but  the  road  was  very  dusty  and  full  of  hard  stones,  and  they 
did  not  like  it.  They  used  to  wander  round  the  high  wall  when  their  les- 
sons were  over,  and  talk  about  the  beautiful  garden  inside.  "How  happy 
we  were  there,"  they  said  to  each  other. 

Then  the  Spring  came,  and  all  over  the  country  there  were  little 
blossoms  and  little  birds.  Only  in  the  garden  of  the  Selfish  Giant  it  was 
still  winter.  The  birds  did  not  care  to  sing  in  it,  as  there  were  no  chil- 
dren, and  the  trees  forgot  to  blossom.  Once  a  beautiful  flower  put  its 
head  out  from  the  grass,  but  when  it  saw  the  notice-board  it  was  so  sorry 
for  the  children  that  it  slipped  back  into  the  ground  again,  and  went  off 
to  sleep.  The  only  people  who  were  pleased  were  the  Snow  and  the 
Frost.  "Spring  has  forgotten  this  garden,"  they  cried,  "so  we  will  live 
here  all  the  year  round."  The  Snow  covered  up  the  grass  with  her  great 
white  cloak,  and  the  Frost  painted  all  the  trees  silver.  Then  they  invited 
the  North  Wind  to  stay  with  them,  and  he  came.  He  was  wrapped  in  furs, 
and  he  roared  all  day  about  the  garden,  and  blew  the  chimney-pots  down. 
"This  is  a  delightful  spot,"  he  said;  "we  must  ask  the  Hail  on  a  visit.". 
So  the  Hail  came.  Every  day  for  three  hours  he  rattled  on  the  roof  of 
the  castle  till  he  broke  most  qf  the  slates,  and  then  he  ran  round  and 
round  the  garden  as  fast  as  he  could  go.  Be  was  dressed  in  gray,  and 
his  breath  was  like  ice. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— WILDE  209 

*1  can  -not  understand  why  the  Spring  is  so  late  in  coming,"  said  the 
Selfish  Giant,  as  he  sat  at  the  window  and  looked  out  at  his  cold  white 
rgarden;  "I  hope  there  will  be  a  change  in  the  weather." 

Bift  the  Spring  never  came,  nor  the  Summer.  The  Autumn  gave  golden 
fruit  to  every  garden,  but  to  the  Giant's  garden  she  gave  none.  "He  is  too 
selfish,"  she  said.  So  it  was  always  Winter  there,  and  the  North  Wind, 
and  the  Hail,  and  the  Frost,  and  the  Snow  danced  about  through  the 
trees. 

One  morning  the  Giant  was  lying  awake  in  bed  when  he  heard  some 
lovely  music.  It  sounded  so  sweet  to  his  cars  that  he  thought  it  must  be 
the  King's  musicians  passing  by.  It  was  really  only  a  little  linnet  singing 
outside  his  window,  but  it  was  so  long  since  he  had  heard  a  bird  sing 
in  his  garden  that  it  seemed  to  him  to  be  the  most  beautiful  music  in  the 
world.  Then  the  Hail  stopped  dancing  over  his  head,  and  the  North  Wind 
peased  roaring,  and  a  delicious  perfume  came  to  him  through  the  open 
casement  "I  believe  the  Spring  has  come  at  last,"  said  the  Giant  j  and  he 
jumped  out  of  bed  and  looked  out. 

What  did  he  gee? 

He  saw  a  most  wonderful  sight.  Through  a  little  hole  in  the  wall  the 
children  had  crept  in,  and  they  were  sitting  in  the  branches  of  the  trees. 
In  every  tree, that  he  could  see  there  was  a  little  child.  And  the  trees 
were  so  glad  tp  have  the  children  back  again  that  they  had  covered  them- 
selves with  blossoms,  and  were  waving  their  arms  gently  above  the  chil- 
dren's heads.  The  birds  were  flying  about  and  twittering  with  delight,  and 
the  flowers  were  looking  up  through  the  green  grass  and  laughing.  It 
was  a  lovely  scene,  only  in  one  corner  it  was  still  winter.  It  was  the 
farthest  corner  of  the  garden,  and  in  it  was  standing  a  little  boy.  He 
was  so  small  that  he  could  not  reach  up  to  the  branches  of  the  tree,  and 
he  was  wandering  all  round  it,  crying  bitterly.  The  poor  tree  was  still 
quite  covered  with  frost  and  snow,  and  the  North  Wind  was  blowing  and 
roaring  above  it.  "Climb  up,  little  boy,"  said  the  Tree,  and  it  bent  its 
branches  down  as  low  as  it  could;  but  the  boy  was  too  tiny. 

And  the  Giant's  heart  melted  as  he  looked  out.  "How  selfish  I  have 
been!"  he  said;  "now  I  know  why  the  Spring  would  not  come  here.  I 
will  put  that  poor  little  boy  on  the  top  of  the  tree,  and  then  I  will  knock 
down  the  wall,  and  my  garden  shall  be  the  children's  playground  for 
ever  and  ever."  He  was  really  very  sorry  for  what  he  had  done. 

So  he  crept  downstairs  and  opened  the  front  door  quite  softly,  and  went 
out  into  the  garden.  But  when  the  children  saw  him  they  were  so  fright- 
ened that  they  all  ran  away,  and  the  garden  became  winter  again.  Only 
the  little  boy  did  not  run,  for  his  eyes  were  so  full  of  tears  that  he  did 
not  see  the  Giant  coming.  And  the  Giant  stole  up  behind  him  and  took 
him  gently  in  his  hand,  and  put  him  up  into  the  tree.  And  the  .tree  broke 
at  once  into  blossoms,  and  the  birds  came  and  sang  on  it,  and  the  little 


«0  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

boy  stretched  out  his  two  arms  and  flung  them  round  the  Giant's  neck, 
and  kissed  him.  And  the  other  children,  when  they  saw  that  the  Giant 
Was  not  wicked  any  longer,  came  running  back,  and  with  them  came 
the  Spring.  "It  is  your  garden  now,  little  children,"  said  the  Giant,  and 
he  took  a  great  axe  and  knocked  down  the  wall.  And  when  the  people 
were  going  to  market  at  twelve  o'clock  they  found  the  Giant  playing 
with  the  children  in  the  most  beautiful  garden  they  had  ever  seen. 

All  day  long  they  played,  and  in  the  evening  they  came  to  the  Giant 
to  bid  him  good-bye. 

"But  where  is  your  little  companion?"  he  said:  "the  boy  I  put  into 
the  tree."  The  Giant  loved  him  the  best  because  he  had  kissed  him. 
,     "We  don't  know,"  answered  the  children;  "he  has  gone  away." 

"You  must  tell  him  to  be  sure  and  come  here  to-morrow,"  said  the 
Giant.  But  the  children  said  that  they  did  not  know  where  he  lived,  and 
had  never  seen  him  before;  and  the  Giant  felt  very  sad. 

Every  afternoon,  when  school  was  over,  the  children  came  and  played 
with  the  Giant.  But  the  little  boy  whom  the  Giant  loved  was  never  seen 
again.  The  Giant  was  very  kind  to  all  the  children,  yet  he  longed  for 
his  first  little  friend,  and  often  spoke  of  him.  "How  I  would  like  to  see 
him!"  he  used  to  say. 

Years  went  over,  and  the  Giant  grew  very  old  and  feeble.  He  could 
not  play  about  any  more,  so  he  sat  in  a  huge  armchair,  and  watched  the 
children  at  their  games,  and  admired  his  garden.  "I  have  many  beautiful 
flowers,"  he  said;  "but  the  children  are  the  most  beautiful  flowers  of 
all." 

One  winter  morning  he  looked  out  of  his  window  as  he  was  dressing. 
He  did  not  hate  the  Winter  now,  for  he  knew  that  it  was  merely  the 
Spring  asleep,  and  that  the  flowers  were  resting. 

Suddenly  he  rubbed  his  eyes  in  wonder,  and  looked  and  looked.  It  cer- 
tainly was  a  marvelous  sight.  In  the  farthest  corner  of  the  garden  was  a 
tree  quite  covered  with  lovely  white  blossoms.  Its  branches  were  all  golden, 
and  silver  fruit  hung  down  from  them,  and  underneath  it  stood  the 
little  boy  he  had  loved. 

Downstairs  ran  the  Giant  in  great  joy,  and  out  into  the  garden.  He 
hastened  across  the  grass,  and  came  near  to  the  child.  And  when  he  came 
quite  close  his  face  grew  red  with  anger,  and  he  said,  "Who  hath  dared 
to  wound  thee?"  For  on  the  palms  of  the  child's  hands  were  the  prints 
of  two  nails,  and  the  prints  of  two  nails  were  on  the  little  feet. 

"Who  hath  dared  to  wound  thee?"  cried  the  Giant;  "tell  me,  that  I 
may  take  my  big  sword  and  slay  him." 

"Nay!"  answered  the  child;  "but  these  are  the  wounds  of  Love." 

"Who  art  thou?"  said  the  Giant,  and  a  strange  awe  fell  on  him,  and 
he  knelt  before  the  little  child. 

And  the  child  smiled  on  the  Giant,  and  said  to  him,  "You  let  me  play 


GREAT  BRITAIN— WILDE  '  211 

once  in  your  garden,  to-day  you  shall  come  with  me  to  my  garden,  which* 
is  Paradise." 

And  when  the  children  ran  in  that  afternoon,  they  found  the  Giant 
lying*  dead  under  the  tree,  all  covered  with  white  blossoms. 


GEORGE  MOORE 

(1852-) 

GEORGE  MOORE  was  born  in  County  Mayo,  in  1852,  of  a  well- 
to-do  family.  At  an  early  age  he  wished  to  become  a  painter, 
and  went  to  Paris  for  that  purpose.  Finding  that  he  had  no  real 
gift  for  painting,  he  turned  to  literature.  His  earliest  efforts  were 
plays  and  imitative  verses.  He  spent  the  period  between  1872  and 
1882  in  Paris,  and  when  he  returned  to  London  to  earn  his  liveli- 
hood, he  was  a  confirmed  Naturalist  of  the  school  of  Zola.  Under 
Zola's  influence  he  wrote  his  first  successful  novel,  A  Mummer's 
Wife.  During  the  eighties  and  nineties  he  wrote  several  novels 
of  contemporary  English  and  Irish  life,  including  his  masterpiece, 
Esther  Waters.  Most  of  Moore's  short  stories  are  in  the  volume 
The  Unlilled  Field  (1903).  These  are  beautifully  written  studies 
of  Irish  life. 

Julia  CahiWs  Curse  is  reprinted  from  The  Untilled  Field,  by 
permission  of  the  author  and  the  publisher,  William  Heinemann. 
Copyright,  1903, 


JULIA  CAHILL'S  CURSE 

"A  ND  what  has  become  of  Margaret?" 

^rjJL  "Ah,  didn't  her  mother  send  her  to  America  as  soon  as  the 
baby  was  born?  Once  a  woman  is  wake  here  she  has  to  go.  Hadn't  Julia 
to  go  in  the  end,  and  she  the  only  one  that  ever  said  she  didn't  mind 
the  priest?" 

" Julia  who?"  said  I. 

"Julia  Cahill." 

The  name  struck  my  fancy,  and  I  asked  the  driver  to  tell  me  her  story. 

"Wasn't  it  Father  Madden  who  had  her  put  out  of  the  parish,  but  she 
put  her  curse  on  it,  and  it's  on  it  to  this  day." 

"Do  you  believe  in  curses?" 

"Bedad  I  do,  sir.  It's  a  terrible  thing  to  put  a  curse  on  a  man,  and 
the  curse  that  Julia  put  on  Father  Madden's  parish  was  a  bad  one,  the 
divil  a  worse.  The  sun  was  up  at  the  time,  and  she  on  the  hilltop  raising 
both  her  hands.  And  the  curse  she  put  on  the  parish  was  that  every  year 


an  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

a  roof  must  fall  in  and  a  family  go  to  America.  That  was  the  curse, 
your  honor,  and  every  word  of  it  has  come  true.  You'll  see  for  yourself 
as  soon  as  we  cross  the  mearing." 

"And  what  has  become  of  Julia's  baby?"  • 

"I  never  heard  she  had  one,  sir." 

He  flicked  his  horse  pensively  with  his  whip,  and  it  seemed  to  me  that 
the  disbelief  I  had  expressed  in  the  power  of  the  curse  disinclined  him 
for  further  conversation. 

"But,"  I  said,  "who  is  Julia  Cahill,  anfl  how  did  she  get  the  power 
to  put  a  curse  upon  the  village?" 

"Didn't  she  go  into  the  mountains  every  night  to  meet  the  fairies, 
and  who  else  could've  given  her  the  power  to  put  a  curse  upon  the 
village?" 

"But  she  couldn't  walk  so  far  in  one  evening." 

"Them  that's  in  league  with  the  fairies  can  walk  that  far  and  much 
farther  in  an  evening,  your  honor.  A  shepherd  saw  her;  and  you'll  see 
the  ruins  of  the  cabins  for  yourself  as  soon  as  we  cross  the  mearing,  and 
I'll  show  you  the  cabin  of  the  blind  woman  that  Julia  lived  with  before 
she  went  away." 

"And  how  long  is  it  since  she  went?" 

"About  twenty  year,  and  there  hasn't  been  a  girl  the  like  of  her  in 
these  parts  since.  I  was  only  a  gossoon  at  the  time,  but  Fve^heard  tell  she 
Was  as  tall  as  I'm  myself,  and  as  straight  as  a  poplar.  She  walked  with 
a  little  swing  in  her  walk,  so  that  all  the  boys  used  to  be  looking  after 
her,  and  she  had  fine  black  eyes,  sir,  and  she  was  nearly  always  laughing. 
Father  Madden  had  just  come  to  the  parish;  and  there  was  courting  in 
these  parts  then,  for  aren't  we  the  same  as  other  people — we'd  like  to 
go  out  with  a  girl  well  enough  if  it  was  the  custom  of  the  country. 
Father  Madden  put  down  the  ball  alley  because  he  said  the  boys  stayed 
there  instead  of  going  into  Mass,  and  he  put  down  the  cross-road  dances 
because  he  said  dancing  was  the  cause  of  many  a  bastard,  and  he  wanted 
none  in  his  parish.  Now  there  was  no  dancer  like  Julia;  the  boys  used 
to  gather  about  to  see  her  dance,  and  whoever  walked  with  her  under 
the  hedges  in  the  summer  could  never  think  about  another  woman.  The 
village  was  cracked  about  her.  There  was  fighting,  so  I  suppose  the  priest 
was  right:  he  had  to  get  rid  of  her.  But  I  think  he  mightn't  have  been  as 
hard  on  her  as  he  was. 

"One  evening  he  went  down  to  the  house.  Julia's  people  were  well- 
to-do  people,  they  kept  a  grocery-store  in  the  village;  and  when  he  came 
into  the  shop  ^vho  should  be  there  but  the  richest  farmer  in  the  country, 
Michael  Moran  by  name,  trying  to  get  Julia  for  his  wife.  He  didn't 
go  straight  to  Julia,  and  that's  what  swept  him.  There  are  two  counters 
in  that  shop,  and  Julia  was  at  the  one  on  the  left  hand  as  you  go  in. 
And  many's  the  pound  she  had  made  for  her  parents  at  that  counter. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— MOORE  213 

Michael  Moran  says  to  the  father,  'Now,  what  fortune  are  you  going  to 
give  with  Julia?'  And  the  father  says  there  was  many  a  man  who  would 
take  her  without  any;  and  that's  how  they  spoke,  and  Julia  listening 
quietly  all  the  while  at  the  opposite  counter.  For  Michael  didn't-  know 
what  a  spirited  girl  she  was,  but  went  on  arguing  till  he  got  the  father 
to  say  fifty  pounds,  and  thinking  he  had  got  him  so  far  he  said,  Til 
never  drop  a  flap  to  her  unless  you  give  the  two  heifers.'  Julia  never  said 
a  word,  she  just  sat  listening.  It  was  then  that  the  priest  came  in.  And 
over  he  goes  to  Julia.  'And  now,*  says  he,  'aren't  you  proud  to  hear  that 
you'll  have  such  a  fine  fortune,  and  it's  I  that'll  be  glad  to  see  you  mar- 
ried, for  I  can't  have  any  more  of  your  goings-on  in  my  parish.  You're 
the  encouragement  of  the  dancing  and  courting  here,  but  I'm  going  to 
put  an  end  to  it.'  Julia  didn't  answer  a  word,  and  he  went  over  to  them 
that  were  arguing  about  the  sixty  pounds.  'Now,  why  not  make  it  fifty- 
five?'  says  he.  So  the  father  agreed  to  that,  since  the  priest  had  said  it,  and 
all  three  of  them  thought  the  marriage  was  settled.  'Now  what  will  you 
be  taking,  Father  Tom?'  says  Cahill,  'and  you,  Michael?'  Sorra  one  of 
them  thought  of  asking  her  if  she  was  pleased  with  Michael;  but  little 
did  they  know  what  was  passing  in  her  mind,  and  when  they  came  over 
to  the  counter  to  tell  her  what  they  had  settled,  she  said,  'Well,  I've  just 
been  listening, to  you,  and  'tis  well  for  you  to  be  wasting  your  time  talk- 
ing about  me^'  and  she  tossed  her  head,  saying  she  would  just  pick  the 
boy  out  of  the  parish  that  pleased  her  best.  And  what  angered  the  priest 
most  of  all  was  her  way  of  saying  it — that  the  boy  that  would  marry 
her  would  be  marrying  herself  and  not  the  money  that  would  be  paid 
when  the  book  was  signed  or  when  the  first  baby  was  born.  Now  it  was 
agin  girls  marrying  according  to  their  fancy  that  Father  Madden  had 
set  himself.  He  had  said  in  his  sermon  the  Sunday  before  that  young 
people  shouldn't  be  allowed  out  by  themselves  at  all,  but  that  the  parents 
should  make  up  the  marriages  for  them.  And  he  went  fairly  wild  when 
Julia  told  him  the  example  she  was  going  to  set.  He  tried  to  keep  his 
temper,  sir,  but  it  was  getting  the  better  of  him  all  the  while.  And  Julia 
said,  'My  boy  isn't  in  the  parish  now,  but  maybe  he  is  on  his  way  here, 
and  he  may  be  here  to-morrow  or  the  next  day.'  And  when  Julia's  father 
heard  her  speak  like  that  he  knew  that  no  one  would  turn  her  from  what 
she  was  saying,  and  he  said,  'Michael  Moran,  my  good  man,  you  may 
go  your  way:  you  will  never  get  her.'  Then  he  went  back  to  hear  what 
Julia  was  saying  to  the  priest,  but  it  was  the  priest  that  was  talking.  'Do 
you  think,'  says  he,  'I  am  going  to  let  you  go  on  turning  the  head  of 
every  boy  in  the  parish?  Do  you  think,'  says  he,  'I'm  going  to  see  you  galli- 
vanting with  one  and  then  with  the  other?  Do  you  think  I  am  going  to 
see  fighting  and  quarreling  for  your  like?  Do  you  think  I  am  going 
to  hear  stories  like  I  heard  last  week  about  poor  Patsy  Carey,  who  has 
gone  out  of  his  mind,  they  say,  on  account  of  your  treatment?  No,'  says 


214  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

he,  CP11  have  no  more  of  that.  I'll  have  you  but  of  my  parish,  or  Pll 
have  you  married.9  Julia  didn't  answer  the  priest;  she  tossed  her  head, 
and  went  on  making  up  parcels  of  tea  and  sugar,  and  getting  the  steps 
and  taking  down  candles,  though  she  didn't  want  them,  just  to  show  the 
priest  that  she  didn't  mind  what  he  was  saying.  And  all  the  while  her 
father  trembling,  not  knowing  what  would  happen,  for  the  priest  had  a 
big  stick,  and  there  was  no  saying  that  he  wouldn't  strike  her.  Cahill 
tried  to  quiet  the  priest,  he  promising  him  that  Julia  shouldn't  go  out 
any  more  in  the  evenings,  and  bedad,  sir,  she  was  out  the  same  evening 
with  a  young  man  and  the  priest  saw  them,  and  the  next  evening  she 
was  out  with  another  and  the  priest  saw  them,  nor  was  she  minded  at 
the  end  of  the  month  to  marry  any  of  them.  Then  the  priest  went  .down 
to  the  shop  to  speak  to  her  a  second  time,  and  he  went  down  again  a  third 
time,  though  what  he  said  the  third  time  no  one  knows,  no  one  being  there 
at  the  time.  And  next  Sunday  he  spoke  out,  saying  that  a  disobedient 
daughter  would  have  the  worst  devil  in  hell  to  attend  on  her.  I've  heard 
tell  that  he  called  her  the  evil  spirit  that  set  men  mad.  But  most  of  the 
people  that  were  there  are  dead  or  gone  to  America,  and  no  one  rightly 
knows  what  he  did  say,  only  that  the  words  came  out  of  his  mouth,  and 
the  people  when  they  saw  Julia  crossed  themselves,  and  even  the  boys 
that  were  most  mad  after  Julia  ;were  afraid  to  speak  to  her.  Cahill  had 
to  put  her  out." 

"Do  you  mean  to  say  that  the  father  put  his  daughter  out?" 

"Sure,  didn't  the  priest  threaten  to  turn  him  into  a  rabbit  if  he  didn't, 
and  no  one  in  the  parish  would  speak  to  Julia,  they  were  so  afraid  of 
Father  Madden,  and  if  it  hadn't  been  for  the  blind  woman  that  I  was 
speaking  about  a  while  ago,  sir,  it  is  to  the  Poor  House  she'd  have  to 
go.  The  blind  woman  has  a  little  cabin  at  the  edge  of  the  bog — I'll  point 
it  out  to  you,  sir;  we  do  be  passing  it  by — and  she  was  with  the  blind 
woman  for  nearly  two  years  disowned  by  her  own  father.  Her  clothes 
wore  out,  but  she  was  as  beautiful  without  them  as  with  them.  The  boys 
were  told  not  to  look  back,  but  sure  they  couldn't  help  it. 

"Ah,  it  was  a  long  while  before  Father  Madden  could  get  shut  of  her. 
The  blind  woman  said  she  wouldn't  see  Julia  thrown  out  on  the  road- 
side, and  she  was  as  good  as  her  word  for  well-nigh  two  years,  till  Julia 
went  to  America,  so  some  do  be  saying,  sir,  whilst  others  do  be  saying 
She  joined  the  fairies.  But  'tis  for  sure,  sir,  that  the  day  she  left  the 
parish  Pat  Quinn  heard  a  knocking  at  his  window  and  somebody  asking 
if  he  would  lend  his  cart  to  go  to  the  railway  station.  Pat  was  a  heavy 
sleeper  and  he  didn't  get  up,  and  it  is  thought  that  it  was  Julia  who  wanted 
Pat's  cart  to  take  her  to  die  station;  it's  a  good  ten  mile;  but  she  got 
there  all  the  same!" 

"You  said  something  about  a  curse?" 

<(YeS|  sir.  You'll  see  the  hill  presently.  -And  a  man  who  was  taking 


GREAT  BRITAIN— MOORE  215 

some  sheep  to  the  fair  saw  her  there.  The  sun  was  just  getting  up  and  he 
saw  her  cursing  the  village,  raising  both  her  hands,  sir,  up  to  the  sun, 
and  since  that  curse  was  spoken  every  year  a  roof  has. fallen  in,  sometimes 
two  or  three." 

I  could  see  he  believed  the  story,  and  for  the  moment  I,  too,  believed 
in  an  outcast  Venus  becoming  the  evil  spirit  of  a  village  that  would  not 
accept  her  as  divine. 

"Look,  sir,  the  woman  coming  down  the  road  is  Bridget  Coyne.  And 
that's  her  house,"  he  said,  and  we  passed  a  house  built  of  loose  stone  with- 
out mortar,  but  a  little  better  than  the  mud  cabins  I  had  seen  in  Father 
MacTurnan's  parish. 

"And  now,  sir,  you  will  see  the  loneliest  parish  in  Ireland." 

And  I  noticed  that  though  the  land  was  good,  there  seemed  to  be  few 
people  on  it,  and,  what  was  more  significant,  that  the  untilled  fields  were 
the  ruins,  for  they  were  not  the  cold  ruins  of  twenty,  or  thirty,  or  forty 
years  ago  when  the  people  were  evicted  and  their  tillage  turned  into 
pasture — the  ruins  I  saw  were  the  ruins  of  cabins  that  had  been  lately 
abandoned,  and  I  said: 

"It  wasn't  the  landlord  who  evicted  these  people." 

"Ah,  it's  the  landlord  who  would  be  glad  to  have  them  back,  but  there's 
no  getting  them  back.  Every  one  here  will  have  to  go,  and  'tis  said  that 
the  priest  will*  say  Mass  in  an  empty  chapel,  sorra  a  one  will  be  there  but 
Bridget,  and  she'll  be  the  last  he'll  give  communion  to.  It's  said,  your 
honor,  that  Julia  has  been  seen  in  America,  and  I'm  going  there  this 
autumn.  You  may  be  sure  I'll  keep  a  lookout  for  her." 

"But  all  this  is  twenty  years  ago.  You  won't  know  her.  A  woman 
changes  a  good  deal  in  twenty  years." 

"There  will  be  no  change  in  her,  your  honor.  Sure,  hasn't  she  been 
with  the  fairies?" 


ARTHUR  MORRISON 


ARTHUR  MORRISON  is  one  of  the  few  writers  of  his  period—  for 
he  belongs  to  the  "School"  of  the  Nineties  —  whose  work  is  still 
widely  popular.  He  is  known  almost  exclusively  for  his  small  vol- 
ume of  stories  called  Tales  of  Mean  Streets^  from  which  That 
Brute  Simmons  has  been  selected.  The  entire  collection,  says 
Mencken,  reveals  "the  amazing  life  of  the  London  East  End,  the 
sewer  of  England  and  of  Christendom." 

Reprinted  from  Tales  of  Mean  Streets,  Methuen,   1894,  by 
permission  of  the  author  and  publishers.. 


216  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 


THAT  BRUTE  SIMMONS 

SIMMONS'S  infamous  behavior  toward  his  wife  is  still  matter  for 
profound  wonderment  among  the  neighbors.  The  other  women  had 
all  along  regarded  him  as  a  model  husband,  and  certainly  Mrs.  Sim* 
mons  was  a  most  conscientious  wife.  She  toiled  and  slaved  for  that  man, 
as  any  woman  in  the  whole  street  would  have  maintained,  far  more  than 
any  husband  had  a  right  to  expect.  And  now  this  was  what  she  got 
for  it.  Perhaps  he  had  suddenly  gone  mad. 

Before  she  married  Simmons,  Mrs.  Simmons  had  been  the  widowed 
Mrs.  Ford.  Ford  had  got  a  berth  as  donkey-man  on  a  tramp  steamer, 
and  that  steamer  had  gone  down  with  all  hands  off  the  cape — a  judg- 
ment, the  widow  woman  feared,  for  long  years  of  contumacy  which 
had  culminated  in  the  wickedness  of  taking  to  the  sea,  and  taking  to  it 
as  a  donkey-man,  an  immeasurable  fall  for  a  capable  engine-fitter. 
Twelve  years  as  Mrs.  Ford  had  left  her  still  childless,  and  childless  she 
remained  as  Mrs.  Simmons. 

As  for  Simmons,  he,  it  was  held,  was  fortunate  in  that  capable  wife. 
He  was  a  moderately  good  carpenter  and  joiner,  but  no  man  of  the 
world,  and  he  wanted  to  be  one.  Nobody  could  tell  what  might  not 
have  happened  to  Tommy  Simmons  if  there  had  been  no  Mrs.  Simmons 
to  take  care  of  him.  He  was  a  meek  and  quiet  man,  with  a  boyish  face 
and  sparse,  limp  whiskers.  He  had  no  vices  (even  his  pipe  departed  him 
after  his  marriage),  and  Mrs.  Simmons  had  ingrafted  on  him  divers 
exotic  virtues.  He  went  solemnly  to  chapel  every  Sunday,  under  a  tall 
hat,  and  put  a  penny — one  returned  to  him  for  the  purpose  out  of 
his  week's  wages — in  the  plate.  Then,  Mrs.  Simmons  overseeing,  he  took 
off  his  best  clothes  and  brushed  them  with  solicitude  and  pains.  On  Satur- 
day afternoons  he  cleaned  the  knives,  the  forks,  the  boots,  the  kettles 
and  the  windows,  patiently  and  conscientiously.  On  Tuesday  evenings 
he  took  the  clothes  to  the  mangling.  And  on  Saturday  nights  he  attended 
Mrs.  Simmons  in  her  marketing,  to  carry  the  parcels.  ' 

Mrs.  Simmons's  own  virtues  were  native  and  numerous.  She  was  a 
wonderful  manager.  Every  penny  of  Tommy's  thirty-six  or  thirty-eight 
shillings  a  week  was  bestowed  to  the  greatest  advantage,  and  Tommy 
never  ventured  to  guess  how  much  of  it  she  saved.  Her  cleanliness  in 
housewifery  was  distracting  to  behold.  She  met  Simmons  at  the  front 
door  whenever  he  came  home,  and  then  and  there  he  changed  his  boots 
for  slippers,  balancing  himself  painfully  on  alternate  feet  on  the  cold 
flags.  This  was  because  she  scrubbed  the  passage  and  doorstep  turn  about 
with  the  wife  of  the  downstairs  family,  and  because  the  stair-carpet  was 
her  own.  She  vigilantly  supervised  her  husband  all  through  the  process  of 
"cleaning  himself"  after  work,  so  as  to  come  between  her  walls  and 


GREAT  BRITAIN— MORRISON  •  217 

the  possibility  of  random  splashes;  and  if,  in  spite  of  her  diligence,  a 
spot  remained  to  tell  the  tale,  she  was  at  pains  to  impress  the  fact  on 
Simmons's  memory,  and  to  set  forth  at  length  all  the  circumstances  of 
his  ungrateful  selfishness.  In  the  beginning  she  had  always  escorted  him 
to  the  ready-made  clothes  shop,  and  had  selected  and  paid  for  his  clothes 
— for  the  reason  that  men  are  such  perfect  fools,  and  shopkeepers  do 
as  they  like  with  them.  But  she  presently  improved  on  that.  She  found 
a  man  selling  cheap  remnants  at  a  street  corner,  and  straightway  she 
conceived  the  idea  of  making  Simmons's  clothes  herself.  Decision  was 
one  of  her  virtues,  and  a  suit  of  uproarious  check  tweeds  was  begun 
that  afternoon  from  the  pattern  furnished  by  an  old  one.  More:  it 
was  finished  by  Sunday,  when  Simmons,  overcome  by  astonishment  at 
the  feat,  was  indued  in  it,  and  pushed  off  to  chapel  ere  he  could  recover 
his  senses.  The  things  were  not  altogether  comfortable,  he  found;  the 
trousers  clung  tight  against  his  shins,  but  hung  loose  behind  his  heels; 
and  when  he  sat,  it  was  on  a  wilderness  of  hard  folds  and  seams.  Also 
his  waistcoat  collar  tickled  his  nape,  but  his  coat  collar  went  straining 
across  from  shoulder  to  shoulder,  while  the  main  garment  bagged  gen- 
erously below  his  waist.  Use  made  a  habit  of  his  discomfort,  but  it  never 
reconciled  him  to  the  chaff  of  his  shopmates;  for  as  Mrs.  Simmons  elabo- 
rated successive  suits,  each  one  modeled  on  the  last,  the  primal  accidents 
of  her  design  Seveloped  into  principles,  and  grew  even  bolder  and  more 
hideously  pronounced.  It  was  vain  for  Simmons  to  hint — as  hint  he  did 
— that  he  shouldn't  like  her  to  overwork  herself,  tailoring  being  bad 
for  the  eyes,  and  there  was  a  new  tailor's  in  the  Mile  End  Road,  very 
cheap,  where  .  .  .  "Ho  yus,"  she  retorted,  "you're  very  consid'rit  I 
dessay  sittin'  there  actin'  a  livin'  lie  before  your  own  wife,  Thomas 
Simmons,  as  though  I  couldn't  see  through  you  like  a  book;  a  lot  you  care 
about  overworkin'  me  as  long  as  your  turn's  served  throwin'  away  money 
like  dirt  in  the  street  on  a  lot  o'  swindling  tailors  an'  me  workin'  an* 
slavin'  'ere  to  save  a  'apenny  an'  this  is  my  return  for  it;  any  one  'ud 
think  you  could  pick  up  money  in  the  'orseroad  an'  I  b'lieve  I'd  be  thought 
better  of  if  I  laid  in  bed  all  day  like  some  would,  that  I  do."  So  that 
Thomas  Simmons  avoided  the  subject,  nor  even  murmured  when  she 
resolved  to  cut  his  hair. 

So  his  placid  fortune  endured  for  years.  Then  there  came  a  golden 
summer  evening  when  Mrs.  Simmons  betook  herself  with  a  basket  to 
do  some  small  shopping,  and  Simmons  was  left  at  home.  He  washed  and 
put  away  the  tea-things,  and  then  he  fell  to  meditating  pri  a  new  pair  _ 
of  trousers,  finished  that  day  and  hanging  behind  the  parlor  door. 
There  they  hung,  in  all  their  decent  innocence  of  shape  in  the  seat,  and 
they  were  shorter  of  leg,  longer  of  waist,  and  wilder  of  pattern  than 
he  had  ever  worn  before.  And  as  he  looked  on  them  the  small  devil  "of 
original  sin  awoke  and  clamored  in  his  breast.  He  was  ashamed  of  it, 


2i8  -GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

of  course,  for  well  he  knew  the  gratitude  he  owed  his  wife  for  those 
same  trousers,  among  other  blessings.  Still,  there  the  small  devil  was, 
and  the  small  devil  was  fertile  in  base  suggestions,  and  could  net  be 
kept  from  hinting  at  the  new  crop  of  workshop  gibes  that  would  spring 
at  Tommy's  first  public  appearance  in  such  things. 

"Pitch  'em  in  the  dust-bin!"  said  the  small  devil,  at  last;  "it's  all 
they're  fit  for." 

Simmons  turned  away  in  sheer  horror  of  his  wicked  self,  and  for  a 
moment  thought  of  washing  the  tea-things  over  again  by  way  of  disci- 
pline. Then  he  made  for  the  back  room,  but  saw  from  the  landing  that 
the  front  door  was  standing  open,  probably  by  the  fault  of  the  child 
downstairs.  Now,  a  front  door  standing  open  was  a  thing  that  Mrs. 
Simmons  would  not  abide;  it  looked  low.  So  Simmons  went  down,  that 
she  might  not  be  wroth  with  him  for  the  thing  when  she  came  back; 
and,  as  he  shut  the'  door,  he  looked  forth  into  the  street. 

A  man  was  loitering  on  the  pavement,  and  prying  curiously  about  the 
door.  His  face  was  tanned,  his  hands  were  deep  in  the  pockets  of 
his  unbraced  blue  trousers,  and  well  back  on  his  head  he  wore  the 
high-crowned  peaked  cap  topped  with  a  knob  of  wool,  which  is  affected 
by  Jack  ashore  about  the  docks.  He  lurched  a  step  nearer  to  the  door, 
and:  "Mrs.  Ford  ain't  in,  is  she?"  he  said. 

Simmons  stared  at  him  for  a  matter  of  five  seconds,  Snd  then  said: 
"Eh?" 

"Mrs.  Ford  as  was,  then — Simmons  now,  ain't  it?" 

He  said  this  with  a  furtive  leer  that  Simmons  neither  liked  nor  un- 
derstood. 

"No,"  said  Simmons,  "she  ain't  in  now.'* 

"You  ain't  her  'usband,  are  ye?" 

"Yus." 

The  man  took  his  pipe  from  his  mouth,  and  grinned  silently  and  long. 
"Blimy,"  he  said,  at  length,  "you  look  the  sort  o'  bloke  she'd  like."  And 
with  that  he  grinned  again.  Then,  seeing  that  Simmons  made  ready  to 
shut  the  door,  he  put  a  foot  on  the  sill  and  a  hand  against  the  panel. 
"Don't  be  in  a  'urry,  matey,"  he  said;  "I  come  'ere  t'ave  a  little  talk 
ivith  you,  man  to  man,  d'ye  see?"  And  he  frowned  fiercely. 

nons  felt  uncomfortable,  but  the  door  would  not  shut,  SO 
itjer  want?"  he  asked.  "I  dunno  you." 

excuse  the  liberty,  I'll  interdooce  meself ,  in  a  manner 
ing.1* AlfctSuched  his  cap  with  a  bob  of  mock  humility.  "I'm 
Bob'Bjjfd,"  he^aid^come  back  out  o'  kingdom-come,  so  to  say.  Me 
as  $e£t  8§]jm(m&i  the  'Mooltan' — safe  dead  five  years  gone.  I  come 

During this  SJj8w"  Thomas  Simmons's  jaw  was  dropping  lower  and 
lower.  At  th^i*  f  it  he  poked  his  fingers  up  through  his  hair,  looked 


220  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLI* 

"Ah!"  Ford  pursued,  "she  ain't  got  no  milder.  An',  my  davy,  wot 
a  jore!" 

Simmons  began  to  feel  that  this  was  no  longer  his  business.  Plainly, 
'Anner  was  this  other  man's  wife,  and  he  was  bound  in  honor  to 
acknowledge  the  fact.  The  small  devil  put  it  to  him  as  a  matter  of  duty. 

"Well,"  said  Ford,  suddenly,  "time's  short,  an'  this  ain't  business. 
I  won't  be  'ard  on  you,  matey.  I  ought  prop'ly  to  stand  on  my  rights, 
but  seein'  as  you're  a  well-meanin'  young  man,  so  to  speak,  an'  all  settled 
an'  a-livin  'ere  quiet  an'  matrimonual,  I'll"  —  this  with  a  burst  of  gen- 
erosity —  "damme,  yus,  I'll  compound  the  felony,  an*  take  me  'ook. 
Come,  I'll  name  a  figure,  as  man  to  man,  fust  an'  last,  no  less  an'  no 
more.  Five  pound  does  it." 

Simmons  hadn't  five  pounds  —  he  hadn't  even  jfive  pence  —  and  he  said 
so.  "An'  I  wouldn't  think  for  to  come  between  a  man  an'  'is  wife," 
he  added,  "not  on  no  account.  It  may  be  rough  ion  me,  but  it's  a  dooty.  . 
/'//'ook  it." 

"No,"  said  Ford,  hastily,  clutching  Simmons  by  the  arm.  "don't  do 
that.  I'll  make  it  a  bit  cheaper.  Say  three  quid  —  come,  that's  reasonable, 
ain't  it?  Three  quid  ain't  much  compensation  for  me  goin'  away  for- 
ever —  where  the  stormy  winds  do  blow,  so  to  say  —  an'  never  as  much 
as  seein'  me  own  wife  agin  for  bettor  nor  wuss.  Between  man  an*  man 
now  —  three  quid;  an'  I'll  shunt.  That's  fair,  ain't  it?" 

"Of  course  it's  fair,"  Simmons  replied,  effusively.  "It's*more'n  fair; 
it's  noble  —  downright  noble,  /  call  it.  But  I  ain't  goin'  to  take  a  mean 
advantage  o'  your  good-'artedness,  Mr.  Ford.  She's  your  wife,  an'  I 
oughtn't  to  'a'  come  between  you.  I  apologize.  You  stop  an'  'ave  yer 
proper  rights.  It's  me  as  ought  to  shunt,  an'  I  will."  And  he  made  a  step 
toward  the  door. 

"  'Old  on,"  quoth  Ford,  and  got  between  Simmons  and  the  door; 
"don't  do  things  rash.  Look  wot  a  loss  it'll  be  to  you  with  no  'ome  to  go 
to,  an'  nobody  to  look  after  ye,  an'  all  that.  It'll  be  dreadful.  Say  a 
couple  —  there,  we  won't  quarrel,  jest  a  single  quid,  between  man  an'  man, 
an'  I'll  stand  a  pot  o'  the  money.  You  can  easy  raise  a  quid  —  the  clock 
'ud  pretty  nigh  do  it.  A  quid  does  it;  an'  I'll  —  " 

There  was  a  loud  double-knock  at  the  front  door.  In  the  East  End 
a  double-knock  is  always  for  the  upstairs  lodgers. 
'  Bob  Ford,  apprehensively. 

Simmons  in  reply,  and  he  made  a  rush  for 


. 


f  |X"Bob  Ford  heafi^ri A  open  the  front  door.  Then  he  went  to  the  window, 
and  ju^ftelow  nfi^  «  saw  the  crown  of  a  bonnet.  It  vanished,  and 
borne  jto  jln^tf f ok^v^thin  the  door  there  fell  upon  his  ear  the  sound 

£g. ye  gq^Jii^v  with  no  'at?"  asked  the  voice,  sharply. 


GREAT  BRITAIN— MORRISON         .  221 

"Awright,  'Anner — there's — there's  somebody  upstairs  to  sec  you," 
Simmons  answered.  And,  as  Bob  Ford  could  see,  a  man  went  scuttling 
down  the  street  in  the  gathering  dusk.  And  behold,  it  was  Thomas 
S  millions.  * 

Ford  reached  the  landing  in  three  strides.  His  wife  was  still  at  the 
front  door,  staring  after  Simmons.  He  flung  into  the  back  room,  threw 
open  the  window,  dropped  from  the  wash-house  roof  into  the  back- 
yard, scrambled  desperately  over  the  fence,  and  disappeared  into  the 
gloom.  He  was  seen  by  no  living  soul.  And  that  is  why  Simmons's  base 
desertion — under  his  wife's  very  eyes,  too— is  still  an  astonishment  to 
the  neighbors. 


V.  R.  NARtA* 

Germany 


INTRODUCTION 

THE  contribution  of  German  writers  to  the  technical  development 
and  the  sum  total  of  the  world's  stories  has  been  especially  rich. 
Owing  doubtless  to  the  political  vicissitudes  of  the  German-speaking  peo- 
ples, and  to  the  widely  varying  elements  that  combined  through  the  ages 
to  produce  it,  the  short-story  literature  of  the  Germans  offers  a  greater- 
diversity  in  subject-matter  and  treatment  than  that  of  France  or  Italy 
or  Spain.  There  is  a  substratum  of  pre-Christian  folklore  and  tradition 
that  has  persisted  through  the  centuries,  lending  to  the  stories  of  even  the 
most  recent  writers  a  certain  air  of  romance  and  mystery  that  is  often 
lacking  among  the  best  productions  of  other  lands. 

The  earliest  specimen  of  German  vernacular  literature,  the  Lay  of 
Hildebrandy  a  precious  document  dating  from  the  early  Ninth  Century, 
happens  to  be  a  well-told  short  story.  The  author  was  an  Austrian,  but 
it  must  be  remembered  that  German  literature  as  a  whole  embraces 
certain  adjacent  countries  which,  like  parts  of  Switzerland  and  Austria, 
are  essentially  German,  racially  and  intellectually. 

As  early  as  the  second  decade  of  the  Eleventh  Century  there  existed 
a  fairly  well-defined  fiction  form.  Ruodlieb,  though  it  is  too  long  for  in- 
clusion in  this  volume,  is  a  genuine  long-short  story.  It  was  written  about 
the  year  1030.  Not  long  afterward  came  the  romances  and  Lays  of 
chivalry,  like  the  Gudrun,  and  somewhat  later  The  Lay  of  the  Nibelungs. 
During  the  Twelfth  and  Thirteenth  Centuries  the  courtly  romances 
flourished;  it  was  the  age  of  the  great  Minnesingers,  Wolfram  von 
Eschenbach,  Hartmann  von  Aue,  and  Gottfried  von  Strassburg,  all  of 
whom  drew  largely  on  France  for  their  plots  and  characters.  It  is 
possible  to  select  from  the  romances  of  these  poets  an  infinity  of  episodes, 
like  The  Coming  of  Gandin  (which  appears  in  the  following  pages), 
which  are  true  short  stories. 

With  the  decline  of  Chivalry  and  the  growth  of  the  merchant  classes, 
the  courtly  tales  languished.  They  gave  way  to  such  realistic  work  as 
Wernher  the  Gardner's  Fanner  Helmbrecht  (1250),  and  Reynard  the 
Fox  which,  though  in  fable-form,  was  a  realistic  work.  This  was  fol- 
lowed by  several  imitations.  Passing  rapidly  now;  to  the  period  of  the 

222 


GERMANY— INTRODUCTION  223 

Reformation,  we  find  a  growing  literature  of  and  by  tfke  jpeople-^rof ten 
formless  and  rambling  like  Brant's  Ship  of  Fools,  v^hjbn^cu^4  fr&m  th*e 
early  Sixteenth  Century.  Far  better  artistically  is  Wickram's  Galmy 
(15^9),  usually  regarded  as  the  first  German  novel. 

The  same  century  was  especially  rich  in  the  collections  of  episodes 
like  the  celebrated  Till  Eulensfiegel,  Pauli's  Jest  and  Earnest,  and  the 
Faust  chapbooks.  These  popular  works  were  accumulations  of  folklore, 
history,  gossip,  and  the  odds  and  ends  of  other  literatures.  The  Italian 
Renaissance  had  also  affected  .Germany,  and  influences  from  France 
continued  as  before.  Boccaccio  and  Rabelais,  together  with  their  fol- 
lowers and  imitators,  were  well-known  by  the  end  of  the  Sixteenth 
Century. 

Of  a  more  original  character  is  the  work  of  Moscherosch,  Grimmel- 
hausen  and  his  follower,  Christian  Weise.  Grimmelhausen  was  the 
Creator  of  the  famous  character  of  Simplicissimus.  The  Adventures  of 
that  remarkable  person  are  still  read  with  interest. 

Under  the  influence  of  the  pseudo-classical  Gottsched,  about  the  mid- 
dle of  the  Eighteenth  Century,  a  new  era  dawned.  Its  most  important 
contribution  was  the  short  verse  fable  and  tale,  which  was  perfected  by 
Gellert,  though  others,  like  Lessing,  tried  their  hand  at  it.  By  the  end 
of  the  century,  the  Storm  and  Stress  and  later  the  Romantic  movements, 
helped  on  by»Goethe  and  Schiller,  the  Schlegels  and  several  others,  pre- 
pared the  way  for  the  first  of  the  moderns,  Hauff  and  Hoffmann  and 
Zschokke. 

The  Nineteenth  Century  produced  a  large  number  of  romantic  writers 
who,  in  common  with  the  French,  evolved  a  highly  finished  type  of 
short  story.  Supreme  among  these  writers  were  Keller  and  Heyse,  though 
the  novelists  Freytag,  Auerbach,  Spielhagen,  Baumbach,  and  Reuter  (to 
mention  only  a  few)  all  wrote  short  tales.  Toward  the  end  of  the  cen- 
tury the  short  story  became  with  certain  writers,  like  Ludwig  Thoma  and 
others,  the  vehicle  for  the  interpretation  of  peasant  life,  while  with 
writers  like  Schnitzler  and  Bahr,  Hartleben  and  Wedekind,  it  was 
largely  an  expression  of  the  Time  Spirit  of  all  Europe. 

The  more  recent  writers,  like  Heinrich  and  Thomas  Mann,  Zweig, 
Wassermann,  Sternheim  and  Kellermann  are  developing  new  varieties 
of  form,  and  reveal  the  influence  of  the  Russians  to  a  marked  extent. 


THE  LAY  OF  HILDEBRAND 

(Anonymous:  Early  9th  Century,  A.D.) 

THE  fragmentary  Lay  of  Hildebrand  is  the  very  earliest  surviving 
specimen  of  literature  in  the  German  language.  Beyond  the  fact 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE:  WORLD* 

that  he  was  an  Austrian,  nothing  is  known  of  the  writer.  The  frag" 
ment  consists  of  sixty-nine  lines  of  verse,  and  relates  tribe  greater 
part  of  an  incident  which  belongs  to  the  much  longer  Dietrich 
saga.  Fortunately,  what  we  possess  of  The  Lay  of  Hildebrand  is  < 
really,  so  far  as  it  goes,  a  short  story  in  itself.  It  bears  a  striking 
resemblance  to  the  old  story  of  Sohrab  and  Rustem. 

The  present  version  is  reprinted  from  W.  Taylor's  Historic  S#r- 
vey  of  German  Poetry ,  etc.,  London,  1830.  There  is  no  title  in 
the  original. 


THE  LAY  OF  HILDEBRAND 

I  HAVE  heard  say  that  Hildebrand  and  Amelung  agreed  to  go  on  a 
warlike  expedition.  These  kinsmen  made  ready  their  horses,  prepared 
their  .war-shirts  and  girded  on  their  chain-hiked  swords. 

As  they  rode  to  the  meeting  of  heroes  Hildebrand,  Hildebrand's  son 
(he  was  one  of  the  wise  and  questioned  in  few  words),  said  to  his  com- 
panion: "If  thou  wilt  tell  me  who  was  thy  father  and  of  what  people 
thou  art  sprung,  I  will  give  thee  three  garments." 

"I  am  a  child  of  the  Huns,"  answered  Amelung,  "and  our  old  people 
have  told  me  that  my  father's  name  was  Hildebrand.  In  tf ormer  times 
he  came  from  the  east,  flying  the  enmity  of  Otto-asa,  and  put  himself 
with  Theodoric  and  his  blades. 

"He  left  behind  in  the  land  a  bride  in  childbed  and  a  child  without 
inheritance;  and  went  to  the  south  with  Theodoric,  where  he  stood  many 
brunts. 

"He  was  a  man  without  connections,  not  a  match  for  Otto-asa;  but 
he  was  a  good  soldier,  while  he  strove  under  Theodoric,  acquired  do- 
mains, was  his  people's  father,  and  dear  to  brave  men.  I  do  not  believe 
that  he  is  living." 

"My  worthy  god  Irmin  in  heaven  above,"  quoth  Hildebrand,  "do  not 
let  me  fight  with  so  near  a  kinsman."  Then  he  untwisted  golden  brace- 
lets from  his  arm,  and  imperial  rings  which  his  king  had  given  him, 
saying:  "This  I  give  thee  not  without  good  will.  I  am  thy  father  Hilde- 
brand." 

Amelung  answered:  "With  willing  soul  be  gifts  taken,  tit  for  tat. 
Thou  art  not  of  his  age.  Craftily  thou  seekest  to  deceive  %me:  but  I  will 
convict  thee  out  of  thy  own  mouth.  Thou  art  so  advanced  in  years,  and 
thou  must  be  older  than  he.  And  shipwrecked  men  told  me  that  he  died 
by  the  Wendel-Sea  in  the  west." 

Then  Hildebrand  answered:  "I  well  see  thou  hast  in  thy  breast  no 
Lord  God,  and  carest  nought  for  his  kingdom.  Go  now,  so  God  be 
willing,"  said  Hildebrand;  "I  would  we  were  parted.  Sixty  summers 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS  225 

have  I  wandered  out  of  my  country,  and  sometimes  I  have  joined  archers 
but  in  no  borough  did  ever  fasten  my  legs:  and  now  my  nearest  kinsman 
would  aim  his  battle-ax  at  my  neck,  or  I  must  bind  his  legs.  Yet  you  may 
now* easily,  if  your  valor  is  up,  win  the  spoils  of  the  dead  from  one  you 
should  venerate,  if  you  have  any  sense  of  right.  He  would  be  a  base 
Ostrogoth,"  continued  Hildebrand,  "who  should  refuse  thee  battle,  seeing 
thou  so  greatly  desirest  it.  Good  commoners,  be  judges  which  it  is  who 
flinches  in  the  field,  and  which  it  is  who  ought  to  have  our  two  coats 
of  mail." 

Then  they  let  them  fly  their  ashen  spears  with  such  force  that  they 
stuck  in  the  shields.  Then  they  struck  together  their  stone  axes,  and  up- 
lifted hostilely  their  white  shields,  till  their  loins  and  bellies  quivered. 

But  the  lady  Utta  rushed  in  between  them:  "I  know,"  said  she,  ccthe 
cross  of  gold  which  I  gave  him  for  his  shield;  this  is  my  Hildebrand. 
You,  Amelung,  sheath  your  sword;  this  is  your  father." 

Then  she  led  both  champions  into  her  hall,  and  gave  them  meat  and 
wine  and  many  embraces. 


'SIEGFRIED  AND  KRIEMHILD 

(Anonymous:  End  of  1 2th  Century) 

THE  unknown  writer  of  the  NibelungenUedy  or  Lay  of  the  Ni- 
beltings^  was  an  Austrian.  Nothing  is  known  of  him  except  that 
he  wrote  his  celebrated  ballad-epic  toward  the  end  of  the  Twelfth 
Century.  Rediscovered  toward  the  end  of  the  Eighteenth  Century, 
the  Lay  is,  in  the  words  of  Prof.  Calvin  Thomas,  "a  powerful 
poem  and  a  human  document  of  many-sided  interest."  The  compo- 
nent episodes  are  related  with  great  vivacity,  and  the  characters  de- 
veloped by  means  of  a  powerful  imagination.  The  Lay  was  founded 
upon  earlier  versions  of  various  legends,  traditions,  and  songs  that 
were  current  in  pre-Christian  times.  Many  of  the  same  stories  are 
found  in  the  two  Icelandic  Ed  das  and  in  the  Volsunga  Saga. 

The  present  version  comprises  two  chapters,  or  "Adventures" 
(the  fourth  and  fifth)  of  The  Pall  of  the  Nifolungs,  translated 
by  Margaret  Armour,  Everyman's  Library.  Reprinted  by  permission 
of  the  publishers,  J.  M,  Dent  and  Sons.  There  is  no  title  in  the 
original* 


3*6  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD? 

SIEGFRIED  AND  KRIEMHILD 
(From  The  Lay  of  the  Nibelungs) 

rOW  there  were  brought  into  Gunther's  land  strange  tidings  by 
envoys  sent  from  afar  by  foreign  princes  that  hated  him;  and 
when  they  heard  the  message  they  were  troubled.  The  kings  were  as  I 
will  tell  you:  Ludger  of  the  Saxons,  a  high  and  mighty  prince;  and 
Ludgast  of  Denmark,  and  many  bold  warriors  with  them. 

These  envoys,  sent  by  his  f oemen,  came  into  Gunther's  land,  and  the 
strangers  were  asked  their  business,  and  brought  before  the  king. 

The  king  greeted  them  fair,  and  said,  "I  know  not  who  hath  sent  you 
hither,  and  would  hear  it"  So  spake  the  good  king,  and  they  greatly 
feared  his  wrath. 

"If  thou  wilt  have  our  message,  O  king,  we  will  teK  it  plain,  and 
name  thee  the  princes  that  have  sent  us.  They  are  Ludgast  and  Ludger, 
and  will  come  against  thee  into  thy  land.  Thou  art  fallen  in  their  dis- 
pleasure, and  we  know  that  they  bear  thee  bitter  hate.  They  come  hither 
with  an  armed  force  to  Worms  by  the  Rhine — they  and  their  warriors. 
Wherefore  be  warned.  Inside  of  twelve  days  they  will  ride.  If  thou  hast 
trusty  friends,  let  it  appear  now;  let  them  help  thee  to  kegp  thy  castles 
and  thy  country,  for,  or  long,  there  will  be  smiting  of  helmets  and 
shields  here.  Or  wouldst  thou  treat  with  them,  then  declare  it  straight- 
way, that  thy  f  oemen  come  not  nigh  thee  to  thy  hurt,  and  that  goodly 
knights  perish  not  thereby." 

"Tarry  a  while — ye  shall  have  answer  betimes — that  I  may  bethink 
me,"  said  the  good  king.  "If  I  have  true  liegemen,  I  will  not  hide  it 
from  them,  but  will  take  counsel  with  them  on  this  hard  matter." 

Heavy  enow  of  his  cheer  was  Gunther.  He  pondered  the  message 
secretly  in  his  heart,  and  summoned  Hagen,  and  others  of  his  men,  and 
sent  to  the  court  in  haste  for  Gernot.  His  best  knights  drew  round  him, 
and  he  said,  "Without  cause,  and  with  a  mighty  array,  foemen  come 
hither  against  us  into  our  land." 

Thereto  answered  Gernot,  a  hardy  and  bold  warrior,  "We  shall 
hinder  that  with  our  swords.  They  only  perish  that  fate  dooms.  Let 
them  die.  They  shall  not  turn  me  from  honor.  Our  foemen  are  wel- 
come." 

Spake  Hagen  of  Trony  then,  "Methinketh  that  were  unwise.  Ludgast 
and  Ludger  are  proud  men  withal,  and  we  can  hardly  in  so  few  days 
muster  our  men."  Therefore  the  bold  knight  said,  "Tell  Siegfried." 

They  bade  lodge  the  envoys  in  the  town.  Albeit  they  were  his  foemen, 
Gunther,  the  great  king,  commanded  the  folk  to  entreat  them  well — 
rightly  he  did  so — till  that  he  knew  the  friends  that  would  stand  by  him. 


GERMANY-— ANONYMOUS  227 

The  king  was  heavy  of  his  cheer,  and  Siegfried,  the  good  knight,  saw 
that  he  was  downcast,  but  wist  not  the  reason,  and  asked  King  Gunther 
what  ailed  him.  "I  marvel  much,"  said  Siegfried,  "that  thou  takest  no 
part  in  our  sports  as  heretofore."  And  Gunther,  the  doughty  knight, 
answered  him,  "Not  to  every  man  may  I  declare  the  secret  heaviness  of 
my  heart;  only  unto  true  friends  shall  the  heart  tell  its  dole." 

Siegfried  changed  color,  and  grew  red  and  white,  and  he  said  to  the 
king,  "I  have  denied  thee  naught,  and  now  I  would  help  thee.  If  thou 
seekest  friends,  I  will  be  one  of  them,  and  stand  to  it  truly  to  my 
life's  end." 

"Now  God  requite  thee,  Sir  Siegfried,  for  I  like  thy  word;  and  albeit 
thy  might  availed  me  nothing,  I  would  rejoice  none  the  less  that  thou 
art  well-minded  toward  me;  as  much  and  more  will  I  do  to  thee  if  I 
live.  I  will  tell  thee  the  cause  of  my  trouble.  Envoys  from  my  foemen 
have  brought  a  message  that  with  an  army  they  will  come  against  me; 
such  inroad  of  warriors  hath  not  been  aforetime  in  this  country." 

"Be  not  sorrowful  for  that,"  answered  Siegfried;  "be  of  good  cheer, 
and  do  now  as  I  say.  I  will  win  for  thee  honor  and  profit  or  ever  thy 
foemen  reach  this  land.  Had  thy  stark  adversaries  thirty  thousand  war- 
riors at  their  back,  and  I  but  one  thousand,  I  would  withstand  them — 
trust  me  for  that." 

King  Gunther  answered,  "Thou  shalt  be  well  paid  for  this." 

"Give  me  a  thousand  of  thy  knights,  since  of  mine  own  I  have  but 
twelve  here  with  me,  and  I  will  keep  thy  land  for  thee.  The  hand  of 
Siegfried  will  serve  thee  truly.  Hagen  shall  help  us  in  this,  and  also 
Ortwin,  Dankwart,  and  Sindolt,  thy  loving  knights,  and  eke  Folker,  the 
bold  man,  who  shall  bear  the  standard:  better  knight  thou  wilt  not  find. 
Bid  the  envoys  return  to  their  country;  tell  them  they  shall  see  us  there 
soon  enow.  So  shall  our  castles  go  scatheless." 

The  king  let  summon  his  kinsmen  and  his  liegemen,  and  Ludger's 
messengers  went  to  the  court.  They  were  glad  to  be  gone.  Gunther,  the 
good  king,  gave  them  gifts  and  an  escort,  whereat  they  were  well  content. 

Spake  Gunther,  "Thou  shalt  say  on  this  wise  to  my  haughty  foemen: 
'They  did  wisely  to  turn  from  their  journey,  for  if  my  friends  fail  me 
not,  and  they  seek  me  here  in  my  land,  they  will  find  work  enow.' " 

They  -brought  out  rich  gifts  for  the  envoys,  whereof  Gunther  had  to 
spare,  and  these  said  not  "nay."  Then  they  took  their  leave,  and  departed 
rejoicing. 

When  the  messengers  were  come  again  to  Denmark,  and  told  Lud- 
gast  how  that  the  Rhine-men  would  ride  thither,  he  was  wroth  at  their 
boldness.  They  made  report  to  him  of  the  many  brave  men  Gunther  had, 
and  how  that  they  had  seen  a  knight  there  amidst  of  them  that  hight 
Siegfried,  a  hero  from  the  Netherland,  the  which  was  heavy  news  for 
Ludgast. 


228  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

When  they  of  Denmark  heard  it,  they  hasted  the  more  to  summon 
their  friends,  till  that  Ludgast  had  ready  for  the  onset  twenty  thousand 
warriors  withal.  ' 

On  like  manner  Ludger  of  Saxony  summoned  his  men  to  the'nu&ber 
of  forty  thousand,  ready  to  march  into  Burgundy. 

The  same  also  did  King  Gunther  to  his  liegemen,  and  to  his  brothers 
with  their  vassals,  and  to  Hagen  and  his  knights.  These  were  sorry  enow 
at  the  news;  by  reason  thereof  many  a  knight  looked  on  death. 

They  hasted  and  made  ready  for  the  journey.  Brave  Folker  bare  the 
standard.  They  purposed  to  cross  the  Rhine  from  Worms.  Hagen  of 
Trony  led  the  force.  Sindolt  and  bold  Hunolt  were  there,  that  they 
might  deserve  King  Gunther's  gold ;  also  Hagen's  brother  Dankwart,  and 
Ortwin,  fit  men  and  worthy  for  the  undertaking. 

"Sit  thou  at  home,  O  King,"  spake  Siegfried.  "Since  thy  knights  are 
willing  to  follow  me,  stay  here  by  the  women  and  be  of  good  cheer;  for, 
by  my  troth,  I  will  guard  for  thee  both  goods  and  honor.  I  will  see  to 
it,  that  they  that  seek  thee  here  at  Worms  by  the  Rhine  bide  where  they 
are;  we  will  pierce  deep  into  their  country,  till  their  vaunting  is  turned 
to  sorrow." 

They  passed  from  the  Rhine  through  Hesse  against  Saxony,  where  the 
battle  was  fought  afterward.  With  plunder  and  with  fire  they  laid  waste 
the  land,  the  which  both  the  princes  found  to  their  cost.  f 

When  they  were  come  to  the  marches,  the  warriors  hasted  forward, 
and  Siegfried  began  to  ask  them,  "Which  of  us  shall  guard  the  rest  from 
surprise?"  More  to  their  hurt  the  Saxons  never  took  the  field. 

They  answered,  "Let  bold  Dankwart  guard  the  younger  knights.  He 
is  a  good  warrior.  So  shall  we  come  in  less  scathe  by  Ludger's  men.  He 
and  Ortwin  shall  guard  the  rear." 

"I  myself  will  ride  forward,"  said  Siegfried,  "and  spy  out  the  foe, 
that  I  may  know  rightly  who  the  warriors  be." 

Fair  Sieglind's  son  did  on  his  armor  in  haste.  He  gave  his  knights  in 
charge  to  Hagen  and  bold  Gernot  when  he  set  out.  He  rode  into  Saxony 
all  alone,  and  won  honor  by  his  quest.  He  perceived  a  great  host  en- 
camped on  a  field,  that  loomed  mightily  against  him,  beyond  the  strength 
of  one  man:  forty  thousand  or  more.  And  the  high  heart  of  Siegfried 
rejoiced. 

One  of  the  enemy's  knights  kept  watch  warily,  and  perceived  Sieg- 
fried, and  Siegfried  him,  and  they  glared  fiercely  on  each  other.  I 
will  tell  you  who  he  was  that  kept  watch.  On  his  arm  he  bare  a  glit- 
tering shield  of  gold.  It  was  King  Ludgast  that  kept  ward  over  his 
host. 

The  noble  stranger  pricked  toward  him  fiercely.  Ludgast  dressed  him 
also.  They  put  spurs  to  their  horses  and  smote  with  all  their  strength  on 
the  shields  with  their  spears,  that  it  was  like  to  go  hard  with  the  king. 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS  229 

On  their  horses,  pricked  forward  by  the  spur,  the  princes  bare  down  on 
each  other  like  the  wind.  Then  they  wheeled  round  deftly — these  two 
fierce  men — and  fell  to  hacking  with  their  swords.  Sir  Siegfried  smote, 
that  the  field  rang  therewith;  the  hero  with  his  mighty  blade  struck 
sparks  from  Ludgast's  helmet.  Fiercely  fought  the  prince  of  the  Nether- 
land,  and  Ludgast,  likewise,  dealt  many  a  grim  blow.  Each  drave  with 
all  his  might  at  the  other's  shield.  The  combat  was  spied  by  thirty  of 
Ludgast's  men,  but  Siegfried,  by  means  of  three  deep  wounds  and  grisly 
that  he  dealt  Ludgast  through  his  white  harness,  overcame  the  king  or 
these  knights  came  up.  His  sword  drew  blood  with  each  stroke,  that  King 
Ludgast  came  in  evil  plight,  and  begged  for  his  life,  offering  his  land 
as  the  price  thereof,  and  said  that  his  name  was  Ludgast. 

His  knights  hasted  to  his  rescue,  for  they  had  seen  the  encounter  at 
the  ward-post.  Siegfried  would  have  led  him  thence,  but  thirty  of  Lud- 
gast's men  rode  at  him.  With  mighty  blows  the  stark  warrior  kept  his 
rich  captive;  and  soon  his  hands  did  even  deadlier  deeds.  He  smote  the 
thirty  men  dead  in  his  defense,  save  one  that  fled  and  told  what  had 
happed,  the  truth  whereof  was  proven  by  his  bloody  helmet. 

They  of  Denmark  were  aghast  when  they  heard  their  king  was  taken 
captive;  they  told  it  to  his  brother,  who  fell  in  a  great  fury  by  reason 
of  the  disaster. 

So  the  mighty  Ludgast  was  taken  by  Siegfried's  prowess,  and  given 
in  charge  to  Hagen.  When  that  good  knight  heard  that  it  was  Ludgast 
he  was  not  sorry. 

They  bade  raise  the  standard  of  Burgundy.  "Forward!"  cried  Sieg- 
fried. "More  shall  be  done  or  the  day  end,  if  I  lose  not  my  life.  The 
Saxon  women  shall  rue  it.  Hearken  now,  ye  men  of  the  Rhine.  I  can 
lead  you  to  Ludger's  army.  There  ye  will  see  helmets  hewn  by  the 
good  hands  of  heroes.  They  shall  be  in  evil  case  or  we  turn  again." 

Then  Gernot  and  his  men  sprang  to  horse.  The  banner  was  unfurled 
by  Folker,  the  minstrel  knight.  He  rode  before  the  host,  and  they  all 
made  them  ready  for  battle.  They  numbered  not  more  than  a  thousand 
men,  and  thereto  the  twelve  strangers.  The  dust  rose  from  their  path, 
and  they  rode  through  the  land,  their  shields  flashing. 

The  Saxons,  also,  were  come  up,  bearing  well-sharpened  swords.  So 
hath  the  story  been  told  me.  The  swords  in  the  heroes'  hands  dealt  grim 
blows  in  defense  of  their  castles  and  their  land. 

[The  marshal  led  the  army,  and  Siegfried  was  come  forward  with 
the  twelve  men  that  he  had  with  him  from  the  Netherland.  Many  a 
hand  was  bloody  that  day  in  the  battle.  Sindolt  and  Hunolt  and  eke 
Gernot  smote  many  heroes  dead  in  the  fight,  that  were  bold  enow  till 
they  felt  their  prowess.  For  their  sake  sorrowed  women  not  a  few. 
Folker  and  Hagen  and  Ortwin,  the  fierce  warriors,  quenched  the  flash 
of  many  helmets  with  blood.  Dankwart,  also,  did  wonders.  The  Danes 


230  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

proved  their  mettle,  and  loud  were  heard  the  hurtling  of  shields  and  the 
clash  of  sharp  swords  swung  mightily.  The  Saxons,  bold  in  strife,  made 
havoc  enow.  Wide  were  the  wounds  hewn  by  the  men  of  Burgundy 
when  they  rushed  to  the  encounter.  Blood  ran  down  the  saddles.  So c was 
honor  wooed  of  these  knights  bold  and  swift.  Loud  rang  the  keen  swords 
in  the  hands  of  the  heroes  of  the  Netherland,  when  they  rode  with  their 
lord  into  the  fray.  They  rode  with  Siegfried  like  good  knights.  None 
from  the  Rhine  kept  pace  with  him.  By  reason  of  Siegfried's  hand 
streams  of  blood  ran  from  bright  helmets,  till  that  he  lit  on  Ludgast 
amidst  of  his  men.  Thrice  he  pierced  through  the  army  of  the  Saxons, 
and  thrice  returned.  Hagen,  by  this  time,  was  come  u£  with  him,  that 
helped  him  in  his  quest.  They  slew  many  a  brave  knight. 

When  bold  Ludger  found  Siegfried  with  Balmung,  the  good  sword, 
swung  aloft,  wherewith  he  made  a  mighty  slaughter,  he  was  wroth,  and  of 
his  mood  full  grim.  With  a  fierce  rush  and  clash  of  swords  the  warriors 
came  together.  So  exceeding  furious  was  their  onset  that  the  host  gave 
way.  Terrible  was  their  hate.  The  Saxon  king  knew  well  that  his  brother 
was  taken  captive,  and  he  was  wroth  thereat;  but  he  knew  it  not  for 
Siegfried's  work  till  now.  They  had  blamed  Gernot.  Now  he  found  out 
the  truth.  Ludger  smote  so  hard  that  Siegfried's  horse  reeled  under  him. 
But  when  he  was  come  to,  Siegfried  was  more  terrible  than  afore.  Hagen 
and  Gernot,  Dankwart  and  Folker,  stood  by  him.  The  dead,  lay  in  heaps. 
Sindolt  and  Hunolt  and  Ortwin  the  knight  slew  many  in  the  strife.  The 
princes  held  together  in  the  fray.  Bright  spears  in  the  hands  of  heroes 
flashed  above  the  helmets,  that  clave  the  shining  bucklers  in  twain.  Many 
a  massy  shield  was  red  with  blood.  In  the  fierce  encounter  many  men 
fell  from  their  horses.  Bold  Siegfried  and  King  Ludger  strove  together, 
and  lances  whizzed,  and  sharp  spears.  Ludger's  shield-plate  flew  off 
through  the  strength  of  Siegfried's  hand.  Then  the  hero  of  the  Nether- 
land  thought  to  have  gotten  the  victory  over  the  Saxons  that  were  hard 
pressed.  Ha!  what  polished  bucklers  doughty  Dankwart  brake! 

Of  a  sudden  Ludger  espied  a  crown  that  was  painted  on  Siegfried's 
shield,  and  he  knew  the  mighty  man,  and  cried  aloud  to  his  friends, 
"Forbear,  my  men  all.  I  have  seen  the  son  of  Siegmund,  even  bold 
Siegfried.  The  Devil  hath  sent  him  hither  into  Saxony."  He  bade  lower 
the  standard,  and  sued  for  peace.  They  granted  this,  yet  he  was  com- 
pelled by  Siegfried  to  go  captive  into  Gunther's  land. 

With  one  accord  they  ceased  from  the  strife.  They  threw  down  their 
shivered  helmets  and  shields.  Blood-red  were  they  all  by  the  hands  of  the 
Burgundians.  They  took  captive  whom  they  listed,  for  they  had  the 
power. 

Gernot  and  Hagen  gave  order  to  convey  the  wounded  on  litters.  They 
led  five  hundred  noble  knights  as  prisoners  to  the  Rhine.  * 

The  vanquished  warriors  rode  back  to  Denmark.  Nor  had  the  .Saxons 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS  131 

fought  so  as  to  win  them  honor,  and  they  were  downcast.  The  dead  were 
mourned  by  their  friends. 

They  sent  the  weapons  to  the  Rhine  on  sumpters.  So  wondrously  had 
Siegfried  done,  that  all  Gunther's  men  praised  him. 

Sir  Gernot  sent  word  to  Worms,  and  throughout  the  whole  land,  to 
their  friends,  how  it  had  sped  with  them;  for  as  bold  knights  and 'hon- 
orable they  had  fought.  The  pages  hasted  and  told  it,  and  the  glad  news 
rejoiced  the  loving  ones  that  had  sorrowed;  The  noble  women  ceased  not 
from  questioning  how  it  had  fared  with  the  great  king's  men. 

Kriemhild  bade  a  messenger  to  her  in  secret;  publicly  she  durst  not, 
for  to  one  of  them  she  bare  dear  heart's  love. 

When  the  messenger  was  come  to  her  chamber,  Kriemhild,  the  beau- 
tiful maiden,  spake  him  fair.  "Now  tell  me  glad  tidings;  thou  shalt  have 
gold  therefor;  and,  sayest  thou  sooth,  I  will  ever  be  beholden  to  thee. 
How  sped  my  brother  Gernot  in  the  battle,  and  the  rest  of  my  friends?, 
Are  there  many  dead?  Who  did  most  valiantly?  Now  tell  me."  ' 

Whereto  the  messenger  answered  truthfully,  "We  had  no  coward 
among  us.  Yet  since  thou  wilt  hear  it,  noble  princess,  none  rode  in  the 
thick  of  the  fight  like  the  knight  of  the  Netherland.  Marvelous  was  the 
work  of  Siegfried's  hand.  All  that  the  knights  did  in  battle — Dankwart 
and  Hagen  and  the  rest — though  with  honor  fought  they  all,  was  but 
as  a  wind  mltched  with  the  prowess  of  Siegfried,  the  son  of  Siegmund. 
Many  heroes  have  they  slain,  yet  of  the  deeds  of  Siegfried,  done  in 
battle,  none  shall  tell  to  the  end.  By  reason  of  him  many  maidens  mourn 
for  their  kin.  Low  lieth  the  dear  one  of  many  a  bride.  Loud  smote  he 
on  the  helmets,  that  they  ran  blood.  In  all  things  he  is  a  knight  bold 
and  good. 

"Ortwin  of  Metz,  also,  won  worship.  Whoso  came  within  range  of 
his  sword  lieth  wounded  or  dead.  Thy  brother,  too,  made  fierce  havoc 
in  the  battle.  To  his  prowess  must  all  testify.  The  proud  Burgundians 
have  so  fought  that  none  may  question  their  honor.  For  many  a  saddle 
Was  emptied  by  them  when  the  field  rang  loud  with  gleaming  swords. 
On  such  wise  fought  the  knights  of  the  Rhine  that  their  foemen  had 
done  better  to  flee.  The  brave  men  of  Trony  rode  fiercely  in  the  strife. 
Hagen  with  his  hand  slew  many,  whereof  Burgundy  shall  hear.  So 
Valiantly  fought  Sinolt  and  Hunolt,  Gernot's  men,  and  eke  Rumolt, 
that  Ludger  may  well  rue  that  he  ever  met  thy  kinsmen  by  the  Rhine. 
But  the  mightiest  deeds,  first  and  last,  were  done  by  Siegfried.  He 
bringeth  rich  captives  into  Gunther's  land,  that  his  strength  hath  con-? 
quered,  by  reason  whereof  King  Ludgast  and  his  brother,  Ludger  of 
Saxony,  suffer  dole.  For  list  to  the  marvel,  noble  queen:  both  these 
princes  hath  Siegfried's  hand  taken.  Never  have  so  many  captives  been 
led  into  this  land  as  come  hither  now  through  his  prowess." 

The  maiden  was  glad  at  the  tale. 


232  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

"Of  unwounded  men  they  bring  five  hundred  or  more,  and  eighty 
red  biers  (I  say  sooth)  of  the  wounded,  fallen,  the  most  part,  by  Sieg- 
fried's might.  They  that  arrogantly  withstood  the  knights  of  the  RJiine 
are  now  Gunther's  captives.  Our  men  lead  them  hither  rejoicing." 

When  she  had  heard  the  news  aright,  her  fair  cheek  reddened,  and 
her  lovely  face  was  the  color  of  the  rose,  because  it  had  gone  well  with 
young  and  noble  Siegfried,  and  he  was  come  with  glory  out  of  peril. 
She  joyed  for  her  kinsmen  also,  as  in  duty  bound.  And  she  said,  "Thou 
hast  spoken  well;  for  guerdon  thereof  thou  shalt  have  costly  raiment, 
and  ten  golden  marks,  that  I  will  bid  them  bear  to  thee."  It  is  good  to 
tell  glad  tidings  to  rich  women. 

He  got  his  envoy's  fee  of  gold  and  vesture,  and  the  fair  maids  hasted 
to  the  window  and  looked  down  the  road,  where  the  high-hearted  war- 
riors rode  home.  They  drew  nigh,  whole  and  wounded,  and  heard  the 
greeting  of  friends,  unashamed.  Light  of  heart  Gunther  rode  to  meet 
them,  for  now  his  grim  care  was  turned  to  joy.  He  received  his  own 
men  well  and  also  the  strangers.  Not  to  have  thanked  them  that  were 
come  to  his  court,  for  that  they  had  done  valiantly  in  battle,  would  have 
been  unseemly  in  so  great  a  king.  And  he  asked  tidings  of  his  friends, 
and  who  were  slain.  None  were  lost  to  him  save  sixty  only,  and  these 
were  mourned  as  many  a  hero  hath  been  mourned  since. 

They  that  were  unhurt  brought  many  battered  shields  f«md  shivered 
helmets  back  to  Gunther's  land.  The  warriors  sprang  down  from  their 
horses  before  the  palace,  and  there  was  a  joyful  noise  of  welcome. 

Order  was  given  to  lodge  the  knights  in  the  town,  and  the  king  com- 
manded that  his  guests  should  be  courteously  entreated,  and  that  the 
wounded  should  be  seen  to  and  given  good  chambers.  So  he  approved 
himself  generous  to  his  foes.  He  said  to  Ludger,  "Thou  art  welcome! 
Much  scathe  have  I  suffered  through  thee;  yet,  if  I  prosper  henceforth, 
I  will  consider  myself  well  paid.  God  reward  my  warriors,  for  well 
have  they  served  me!" 

"Thou  hast  cause  to  thank  them,"  answered  Ludger,  "for  nobler 
captives  were  never  won  for  a  king;  and  gold  without  stint  shall  be 
thine,  if  thou  do  well  by  me  and  my  friends." 

Said  Gunther,  "Ye  shall  both  go  free.  Yet  I  must  have  a  pledge  that 
my  foemen  quit  not  my  land  till  peace  be  sealed  betwixt  us."  And  they 
promised  it,  and  gave  their  hand  thereon.  They  led  them  to  their  quarters 
to  rest,  and  saw  the  wounded  men  laid  softly  in  their  beds.  They  set 
before  them  that  were  whole  meat  and  good  wine,  and  never  were  men 
merrier.  They  bare  the  battered  shields  away  into  safe  keeping;  and  the 
bloody  saddles,  of  which  there  were  enow,  they  hid,  that  the  women 
might  not  grieve  thereat.  Many  a  weary  knight  was  there. 

The  king  entreated  his  guests  right  royally,  and  the  land  was  full  of 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS  233 

friends  and  of  strangers.  He  bade  see  to  the  sore  wounded  ones  whose 
pride  was  brought  low.  To  them  that  were  skilled  in  leech  craft  they 
offered  a  rich  fee  of  unweighed  silver  and  yellow  gold,  that  they  might 
heal  the  heroes  of  their  wounds  gotten  in  battle;  the  king  sent  alslo  pre- 
cious gifts  to  his  guests.  They  that  thought  to  ride  home  were  bidden 
stay  as  friends.  And  the  king  took  counsel  how  he  might  reward  his 
liegemen  that  had  done  valiantly  for  his  sake. 

Sir  Gernot  said,  "Let  them  go  hence  for  the  present,  and  summon 
them  after  six  weeks  to  a  hightide.  Many  will  then  be  whole  that  now 
lie  sick  of  their  wounds." 

Siegfried  of  the  Netherland  would  have  taken  leave  also,  but,  when 
King  Gunther  knew  his  intent,  he  besought  him  lovingly  to  tarry,  the 
which  Siegfried  had  not  done  but  for  Gunther's  sister's  sake.  He  was  too 
rich  to  take  money,  albeit  he  well  deserved  it;  the  king  loved  him,  and 
also  the  king's  kinsmen  that  had  seen  the  deeds  wrought  by  his  hand  in 
battle.  So,  for  love  of  the  maiden,  he  agreed  to  tarry,  that  haply  he 
might  win  to  see  her,  the  which,  or  long,  came  to  pass;  for  he  knew 
her  to  his  heart's  desire,  and  rode  home  joyfully  afterward  to  his  father's 
land. 

The  young  knights  obeyed  the  king's  command  willingly,  and  prac- 
tised daily  at  the  tourney.  Seats  were  raised  on  the  stand  before  Worms 
for  the  guests  that  were  coming  into  Burgundy. 

When  it  was  time  for  them  to  arrive,  fair  Kriemhild  heard  the  news, 
that  they  were  about  to  hold  a  hightide  with  their  friends.  Then  the 
beautiful  women  busied  them  with  their  kirtles  and  their  headgear  that 
they  were  to  wear. 

Uta,  the  great  queen,  heard  of  the  proud  knights  that  were  coming, 
and  gorgeous  robes  were  taken  from  their  wrapping-cloths.  For  love  of 
her  children  she  bade  them  bring  forth  the  garments.  Many  women  and 
maidens  were  adorned  therewith,  and,  of  the  young  knights  of  Bur- 
gundy, not  a  few.  Jo  many  of  the  strangers,  also,  she  gave  goodly 
apparel. 

A  vast  multitude  of  them  that  would  attend  the  hightide  drew  daily 
to  the  Rhine;  and  unto  those  that  came  for  love  of  the  king  horses  were 
given  and  goodly  raiment,  and  to  each  his  place,  even  unto  two  and 
thirty  princes  of  the  highest  and  the  best.  So  they  tell  us. 

And  the  women  vied  with  one  another  in  their  attire.  Giselher,  the 
youth,  and  Gernot,  and  their  two  squires,  rested  not  from  welcoming 
both  friends  and  strangers.  They  gave  courtly  greeting  unto  the  war- 
riors. 

The  guests  brought  with  them  to  the  Rhine,  to  the  tourney,  saddles 
worked  in  ruddy  gold,  and  finely  wrought  shields,  and  knightly  apparel. 
Ar\d  the  sick  rejoiced,  and  they  that  lay  on  their  beds  sore  wounded  for* 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

got  that  death  is  an  hard  thing.  When  the  rumor  of  the  festival  was 
noised  abroad,  no  man  took  heed  more  of  them  that  groaned,  for  each 
thought  only  how  he  might  sojourn  there  as  a  guest.  Joy  without  measure 
had  all  they  that  were  found  there,  and  gladness  and  rejoicing  were  in 
Gunther's  land. 

On  Whitsun  morning,  there  drew  toward  the  hightide  a  goodly  com- 
pany of  brave  men,  fairly  clad:  five  thousand  or  more,  and  they  made 
merry  far  and  wide,  and  strove  with  one  another  in  friendly  combat. 

Now  Gunther  knew  well  how,  truly  and  from  his  heart,  the  hero  of 
the  Netherland  loved  his  sister  whom  he  had  not  yet  seen,  and  whose 
beauty  the  people  praised  before  that  of  all  other  maidens. 

And  he  said,  "Now  counsel  me,  my  kinsmen  and  my  lieges,  how  we 
may  order  this  hightide,  that  none  may  blame  us  in  aught;  for  only  unto 
such  deeds  as  are  good  pertaineth  lasting  fame." 

Then  answered  Ortwin,  the  knight,  to  the  king,  "If  thou  wilt  win 
for  thyself  glory  from  the  hightide,  let  now  the  maidens  that  dwell  with 
honor  in  our  midst  appear  before  us.  For  what  shall  pleasure  or  glad  a 
man  more  than  to  behold  beautiful  damsels  and  fair  women?  Bid  thy 
sister  come  forth  and  show  herself  to  thy  guests." 

And  this  word  pleased  the  knights. 

"That  will  I  gladly  do,"  said  the  king;  and  they  that  ]Ard  him  re- 
joiced. He  sent  a  messenger  to  Queen  Uta,  and  besough\her  that  she 
twould  come  to  the  court  with  her  daughter  and  her  women-folk. 

And  these  took  from  the  presses  rich  apparel,  and  what  lay  therein 
in  wrapping-cloths;  they  took  also  brooches,  and  their  silken  girdles 
worked  with  gold,  and  attired  themselves  in  haste.  Many  a  noble  maiden 
adorned  herself  with  care,  and  the  youths  longed  exceedingly  to  find 
favor  in  their  eyes,  and  had  not  taken  a  rich  king's  land  in  lieu  thereof. 
And  they  that  knew  not  one  another  before  looked  each  upon  each  right 
gladly. 

The  rich  king  commanded  an  hundred  men  of  his  household,  his 
kinsmen  and  hers,  to  escort  his  sister,  their  swords  in  their  hands.  Uta, 
with  an  hundred  and  more  of  her  women,  gorgeously  attired,  came 
forth  from  the  female  apartments,  and  many  noble  damsels  followed 
after  her  daughter.  The  knights  pressed  in  upon  them,  thinking  thereby 
to  behold  the  beautiful  maiden. 

And  lo!  the  fair  one  appeared,  like  the  dawn  from  out  the  dark 
clouds.  And  he  that  had  borne  her  so  long  in  his  heart  was  no  more 
aweary,  for  the  beloved  one,  his  sweet  lady,  stood  before  him  in  her 
beauty.  Bright  jewels  sparkled  on  her  garments,  and  bright  was  the  rose* 
red  of  her  hue,  and  all  they  that  saw  her  proclaimed  her  peerless  amonp 
maidens. 

As  the  .moon  excelleth  in  light  the  stars  shining  clear  from  the  clouds. 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS 

So  stood  she,  fair  before  the  other  women,  and  the  hearts  of  the  war- 
riors were  uplifted.  The  chamberlains  made  way  for  her  through  them 
that  pressed  in  to  behold  her.  And  Siegfried  joyed,  and  sorrowed  like- 
wise, for  he  said  in  his  heart,  "How  should  I  woo  such  as  thee?1  Surely 
it  was  a  vain  dream;  yet  I  were  liefer  dead  than  a  stranger  to  thee." 

Thinking  thus  he  waxed  oft  white  and  red;  yea,  graceful  and  proud 
stood  the  son  of  Sieglind,  goodliest  of  heroes  to  behold,  as  he  were  drawn 
on  parchment  by  the  skill  of  a  cunning  master.  And  the  knights  fell 
back  as  the  escort  commanded,  and  made  way  for  the  high-hearted 
women,  and  gazed  on  them  with  glad  eyes.  Many  a  dame  of  high  degree 
was  there. 

Said  bold  Sir  Gernot,  the  Burgundian,  then,  "Gunther,  dear  brother, 
unto  the  gentle  knight,  that  hath  done  thee  service,  show  honor  now 
before  thy  lieges.  Of  this  counsel  I  shall  never  shame  me.  Bid  Siegfried 
go  before  my  sister,  that  the  maiden  greet  him.  Let  her,  that  never 
greeted  knight,  go  toward  him.  For  this  shall  advantage  us,  and  we 
shall  win  the  good  warrior  for  ours." 

Then  Gunther's  kinsmen  went  to  the  knight  of  the  Netherland,  and 
said  to  him,  "The  king  bids  thee  to  the  court  that  his  sister  may  greet 
thee,  for  he  would  do  thee  honor." 

It  rejoiced  Siegfried  that  he  was  to  look  upon  Uta's  fair  child,  and 
he  forgot  Kfc  sorrow. 

She  greeted  him  mild  and  maidenly,  and  her  color  was  kindled  when 
she  saw  before  her  the  high-minded  man,  and  she  said,  "Welcome,  Sir 
Siegfried,  noble  knight  and  good."  His  courage  rose  at  her  words,  and 
graceful,  as  beseemed  a  knight,  he  bowed  himself  before  her  and  thanked 
her.  And  love  that  is  mighty  constrained  them,  and  they  yearned  with 
their  eyes  in  secret.  I  know  not  whether,  from  his  great  love,  the  youth 
pressed  her  white  hand,  but  two  love-desirous  hearts,  I  trow,  had  else 
done  amiss. 

Nevermore,  in  summer  or  in  May,  bore  Siegfried  in  his  heart  such 
high  joy  as  when  he  went  by  the  side  of  her  whom  he  coveted  for  his 
dear  one.  And  many  a  knight  thought,  "Had  it  been  my  hap  to  walk 
with  her,  as  I  have  seen  him  do,  or  to  lie  by  her  side,  certes,  I  had  suf- 
fered it  gladly!  Yfet  never,  truly,  hath  warrior  served  better  to  win  a 
queen."  From  what  land  soever  the  guests  came,  they  were  ware  only  of 
these  two.  And  she  was  bidden  kiss  the  hero.  He  had  never  had  like  joy 
before  in  this  world. 

Said  the  King  of  Denmart  then,  "By  reason  of  this  high  greeting 
many  good  men  lie  low,  slain  by  the  hand  of  Siegfried,  the  which  hath 
been  proven  to  my  cost.  God  grant  he  return  not  to  Denmark!" 

Then  they  ordered  to  make  way  for  fair  Kriemhild.  Valiant  knights 
In  stately  array  escorted  her  to  the  minster,  where  she  was  parted  from 


236  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Siegfried.  She  went  thither  followed  by  her  maidens;  and  so  rich  was 
her  apparel  that  the  other  women,  for  all  their  striving,  were  as  naught 
beside  her,  for  to  glad  the  eyes  of  heroes  she  was  born. 

Scarce  could  Siegfried  tarry  till  they  had  sung  mass,  he  yearned  so  to 
thank  her  for  his  gladness,  and  that  she  whom  he  bore  in  his  heart  had 
inclined  her  desire  toward  him,  even  as  his  was  to  her,  which  was  meet. 
Now  when  Kriemhild  was  come  forth  to  the  front  of  the  minster,  they 
bade  the  warrior  go  to  her  again,  and  the  damsel  began  to  thank  him, 
that  before  all  others  he  had  done  valiantly.  And  she  said,  "Now,  God 
requite  thee,  Sir  Siegfried,  for  they  tell  me  thou  hast  won  praise  and 
honor  from  all  knights." 

He  looked  on  the  maid  right  sweetly,  and  he  said,  "I  will  not  cease 
to  serve  them.  Never,  while  I  live,  will  I  lay  head  on  pillow,  till  I  have 
brought  their  desire  to  pass.  For  love  of  thee,  dear  lady,  I  will  do  this." 

And  every  day  of  twelve,  in  the  sight  of  all  the  people,  the  youth 
walked  by  the  side  of  the  maiden  as  she  went  to  the  court.  So  they 
showed  their  love  to  the  knight. 

And  there  was  merriment  and  gladness  and  delight  in  the  hall  of 
Gunther,  without  and  within,  among  the  valiant  men.  Ortwin  and 
Hagen  did  many  wonderful  deeds,  and  if  any  devised  a  sport,  warriors, 
joyous  in  strife,  welcomed  it  straightway.  So  were  the  knights  proven 
before  the  guests,  and  they  of  Gunther's  land  won  glory.  The  wounded 
also  came  forth  to  take  part  with  their  comrades,  to  skirmish  with  the 
buckler,  and  to  shoot  the  shaft,  and  waxed  strong  thereby,  and  increased 
their  might. 

Gunther  gave  order  that,  for  the  term  of  the  hightide,  they  should  set 
before  them  meats  of  the  daintiest,  that  he  might  fail  in  naught  as  a 
king,  nor  the  people  blame  him. 

And  he  came  to  his  guests,  and  said,  "Receive  my  gifts  ere  ye  go 
hence,  and  refuse  not  the  treasure  that  I  would  share  with  you." 

The  Danes  made  answer,  "Ere  we  turn  again  to  our  land,  make  thou 
a  lasting  peace  with  us.  We  have  need  of  such,  that  have  many  dear 
friends,  slain  by  thy  warriors." 

Ludgast  and  eke  the  Saxon  were  healed  of  their  wounds  gotten  in 
battle,  but  many  tarried  behind,  dead.  * 

Then  Gunther  sought  Siegfried  and  said,  "Now  counsel  me  in  this. 
On  the  morrow  our  guests  ride  forth,  and  they  desire  of  me  and  mine 
a  lasting  covenant.  What  they  offer  I  will  tell  thee:  as  much  gold  as 
five  hundred  horses  may  carry,  they  will  give  me  to  go  free." 

And  Siegfried  answered,  "That  were  ill  done.  Send  them  forth  with- 
out ransom,  that  they  ride  no  more  hither  as  foexnen.  And  they  shall  give 
thee  the  hand  thereon  for  surety." 

"What  thou  counselest  I  will  do.  They  shall  depart  as  thou  sayest." 


GERMANY— AKONYMOUS 

And  they  told  it  to  his  enemies;  also  that  none  desired  their  gold.  They 
said  it  to  the  war-tired  men,  by  reason  of  whom  the  dear  ones  of  their 
own  land  sorrowed. 

And  the  king  took  shields  full  of  treasure,  and  divided  it  among  them 
without  weighing  it,  five  hundred  marks  and  more.  Gernot,  the  brave 
knight,  counseled  him  thereto.  And  they  took  their  leave,  for  they  were 
aweary  for  home.  And  they  passed  before  Kriemhild  and  Queen  Ut&; 
never  were  knights  dismissed  more  courteously. 

The  chambers  were  void  when  they  left,  nevertheless  the  king  abode 
there  still  with  his  lieges  and  his  vassals  and  knights.  And  these  ceased 
not  to  go  before  Kriemhild. 

Then  Siegfried,  the  hero,  had  also  taken  leave,  for  he  thought  not  to 
attain  his  desire.  But  the  king  heard  of  it,  and  Giselher  the  youth  turned 
him  back.  "Whither  ridest  thou,  Sir  Siegfried?  Prithee  yield  to  me  in 
this.  Go  not  from  among  our  knights,  and  Gunther,  and  his  men.  Here 
are  fair  maidens  enow  that  thou  mayest  behold  at  will." 

Said  bold  Sir  Siegfried,  "Let  stand  the  horses,  bear  hence  the  shields. 
I  would  have  ridden  forth  and  turned  again  to  my  land,  but  Giselher 
hath  changed  my  intent." 

So  he  abode  among  them  through  love,  nor  in  any  land  had  it  been 
sweeter  for  him.  And  Kriemhild,  the  fair  maiden,  he  saw  daily,  by 
reason  of  tffeose  beauty  he  tarried. 

They  passed  the  time  in  sports  and  feats  of  chivalry.  But  his  heart 
was  weary  with  love;  yea,  for  love  he  sorrowed  then,  and,  after,  died 
miserably. 


GOTTFRIED  VON  STRASSBURG 

(Died  about  1210) 

GOTTFRIED  was  one  of  the  most  famous  of  that  group  of  Min- 
nesingers which  included  Hartmann  von  Aue  and  Wolfram  von 
Eschenbach.  These  were  the  most  popular  writers  of  the  so-called' 
romances  of  knighthood,  Gottfried's  Tristan  was  a  working-over  of 
a  French  version  of  the  tale  (now  existing  only  in  fragmentary 
form)  by  Thomas  the  Trouvere.  The  German^  work  is  a  many- 
coloured  story  of  love  and  adventure,  direct,  simple,  and  devoid  of 
the  finer  subtleties  of  psychology.  The  Coming  of  Gandin  is  one  of 
the  complete  episodes  which  abound  throughout  the  romance. 

The  present  version,  translated  by  Jessie  L.  Weston,  is  reprinted 
by  her  permission  from  Tristan  and  Iseult,  published  by  David  Nutt 
in  1899.  There  is  no  title  in  the  original. 


338  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THfi  WORLD 

THE  COMING  OF  GANDIN 

(From  Tristan  and  Iseult) 

FOR  in  these  days  a  ship  came  to  Mark's  haven  in  Cornwall,  and 
there  landed  from  it  a  knight,  a  noble  baron  of  Ireland,  named 
Gandin;  he  was  rich,  handsome,  and  courteous,  so  manly  and  strong  of 
limb  that  all  Ireland  spake  of  his  valor. 

Fairly  clad,  without  shield  or  spear,  he  came  riding  to  the  king's  court. 
On  his  back  he  bare  a  lute  adorned  with  gold  and  precious  stones, 
a-strung  as  a  lute  should  be. 

He  dismounted,  entered  the  palace,  and  greeted  Mark  and  Iseult  in 
fitting  wise.  Many  a  time  and  in  many  ways  had  he  served  the  queen 
in  her  own  land,  through  his  knighthood,  and  the  great  love  he  bare  her, 
and  for  her  sake  had  he  journeyed  hither  from  Ireland. 

Then  Iseult  knew  him,  and  greeted  him  courteously.  "God  save  thee, 
Sir  Gandin." 

"Gramercy,  fair  Iseult,  fair  and  fairer  than  gold  in  the  eyes  of 
Gandin!" 

Iseult  spake  softly  to  the  king,  saying  who  the  knight  was  and  whence 
he  came;  and  Mark  hearkened,  wondering  much  why  ho -bare  a  lute, 
and  in  sooth  so  did  all  the  folk,  for  such  was  not  the  wont  of  wandering 
knights.  Nevertheless  would  Mark  do  him  all  the  honor  he  might,  both 
for  his  own  sake  and  for  that  of  Iseult,  since  he  was  the  queen's  coun- 
tryman; so  he  bade  the  stranger  sit  beside  him,  and  spake  to  him  of 
his  folk  and  land,  and  of  knightly  deeds. 

When  the  feast  was  ready,  and  water  was  brought  round  to  the  guests 
to  wash  their  hands,  then  did  the  courtiers  pray  the  stranger  to  play  the 
lute  before  them.  The  king  and  queen  said  nought,  they  would  leave  it 
to  his  own  will;  and  when  he  took  no  heed  of  their  prayers,  the 
courtiers  mocked  him,  calling  him  "The  Knight  of  the  Lute/*  "The 
Prince  with  the  Penance";  and  Gandin  said  nought,  but  sat  beside  King 
Mark,  and  ate  and  drank,  and  heeded  them  not. 

When  the  feast  was  over,  and  the  tables  borne  away,  then  King  Mark 
prayed  him,  an  he  could,  to  pleasure  them  awhile  with  his  skill  on  the 
lute;  but  Gandin  answered:  "Sire,  I  may  not,  save  that  I  know  what 
my  reward  may  be." 

"Sir  Knight,  what  meanest  thou?  Dost  thou  desire  aught  of  my  pos- 
sessions? If  so,  'tis  granted;  let  us  but  hearken  thy  skill,  and  I  will  give 
thee  whatever  thou  desirest." 

"So  be  it,"  spake  the  knight  of  Ireland. 

Then  he  sang  a  lay  which  pleased  them  all  well,  so  that  the  king 
desired  him  to  sing  another.  The  traitor  laughed  in  his  heart.  "Tell  me," 


GERMANY— GOTTFRIED  VON  STRASSBURG 

he  said,  "what  thou  wilt,  that  I  may  play  even  as  shall  please  thee." 

Now  when  he  had  sung  another  lay,  Gandin  arose  and  stood  before 
the  king,  holding  the  lute  in  his  hand.  "Sir  King/'  he  said,  "bethink 
thee0  of  what  thou  didst  promise  me." 

And  Mark  answered:  "Of  good  will  will  I  do  it.  Tell  me  what  wilt 
thou?" 

"Give  me  Iseult,"  quoth  the  knight. 

"Friend,"  said  Mark,  "whatever  else  thou  desirest  thou  shalt  have, 
but  this  may  not  be." 

"Verily,  Sir  King,"  said  Gandin,  "I  will  neither  much  nor  little,  but 
Iseult  alone." 

The  King  spake:  "Of  a  truth,  that  shall  not  be!" 

"Sire,  wilt  thou  then  break  thy  promise?  If  thou  be  thus  forsworn, 
henceforth  shall  men  hold  thee  unworthy  to  be  king  of  any  land.  Bid 
them  read  the  right  of  kings,  and  if  this  be  not  so,  then  will  I  renounce 
my  claim.  Or,  dost  thou,  or  any  other  say  that  thou  didst  not  swear  to 
give  me  what  I  asked,  then  will  I  assert  my  right  against  thee,  or  against 
whomsoever  the  court  may  choose.  My  body  shall  be  overcome  with  fight 
ere  I  renounce  my  claim.  Choose  thou  a  knight  to  ride  in  the  ring 
against  me,  and  I  will  prove  by  combat  that  fair  Iseult  is  mine." 

The  king  looked  all  about  and  on  either  side  if  he  might  find  one 
who  would* 4are  to  uphold  his  cause;  but  there  was  no  man  who  would 
set  his  life  on  such  a  wager,  nor  would  Mark  himself  fight  for  his 
queen,  for  Gandin  was  so  strong  and  valiant  that  none  durst  take  up  his 
challenge. 

Now  Tristan  had  ridden  forth  to  the  woods  to  hunt,  and  as  he  came 
homeward  to  the  court  he  heard  on  the  way  the  news  of  what  had 
chanced.  'Twas  all  true:  Gandin  had  led  the  queen,  weeping  and  lament- 
ing bitterly  from  the  palace  to  the  seashore.  On  the  shore  was  pitched 
a  tent,  rich  and  costly,  wherein  he  led  the  queen  that  they  might  wait 
till  tide  and  river  rose  and  floated  the  bark,  which  now  lay  high  on  the 
sand. 

When  Tristan  heard  the  tale  from  beginning  to  end,  he  mounted  his 
horse  and  took  his  harp  in  his  hand,  and  rode  swiftly,  even  to  the  haven. 
There  he  turned  aside  secretly,  to  a  grove,  made  his  horse  fast  to  the 
bough  of  a  tree,  and  with  his  harp  in  his  hand  took  his  way  to  the  tent. 
The  knight  of  Ireland  sat  there,  armed,  beside  the  weeping  queen,  whom 
he  strove  hard  to  comfort,  but  little  might  it  avail,  till  he  saw  Tristan 
and  his  harp. 

He  greeted  Gandin,  saying:  "God  save  thee,  fair  minstrel!" 
"Gramercy,  gentle  knight." 

"Sir,"  he  said,  "I  have  hastened  hither.  Men  have  told  me  thou  art 
Come  from  Ireland:  I  too  am  from  thence.  I  pray  thee,  of  thine  honor, 
take  me  back  to  mine  own  land." 


840  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

The  Irish  knight  made  answer:  "That  will  I  do;  but  sit  thee  down, 
play  to  me,  and  if  thou  canst  comfort  my  lady,  whom  thou  seest  weep- 
ing sorely,  I  will  give  thee  the  fairest  garment  that  is  in  this  tent." 

"  'Tis  a  fair  offer,  Sir  Knight,"  said  Tristan.  "I  have  good  hope' that 
I  may  do  so;  an  her  grief  be  not  so  great  that  it  will  stay  not  for  any 
man's  playing,  she  must  needs  be  consoled." 

Therewith  he  harped  so  sweetly  that  the  notes  crept  into  Iseult's  heart 
and  bare  her  thoughts  so  far  hence  that  she  ceased  weeping,  and  thought 
but  of  her  love. 

Now,  when  the  lay  was  ended,  the  water  had  come  up  to  the  bark, 
and  it  floated,  so  that  they  on  board  cried  to  the  haven:  "Sir,  sir,  come 
aboard;  if  my  lord  Tristan  comes  whilst  thou  art  yet  ashore,  we  shall 
have  but  an  ill  time !  Folk  and  land  alike  are  in  his  power — also  he  him- 
self, so  they  say,  is  of  such  wondrous  daring,  so  valiant  and  strong,  he 
will  likely  do  thee  a  mischief." 

This  was  unpleasing  to  Gandin,  and  he  said  angrily:  "Now  may 
heaven  hate  me  if  I  stir  hence  a  moment  earlier  for  that!  Comrade, 
play  me  the  Lay  of  Dido;  thou  dost  harp  so  sweetly  that  I  must  needs 
love  thee  for  it.  Now,  play  and  banish  my  lady's  sorrow.  Out  of  love 
for  thee  will  I  bear  thee  hence  with  her  and  me,  and  will  give  thee  all 
I  have  promised  thee,  yea,  and  more!" 

"So  be  it,"  quoth  Tristan. 

The  minstrel  touched  his  harp  again;  and  he  played  so  sweetly  that 
Gandin  listened  eagerly,  and  Iseult  was  all  intent  on  the  music.  And 
when  it  had  ended  the  knight  took  the  queen  by  the  hand,  and  would 
lead  her  aboard,  but  by  now  was  the  tide  so  high  and  running  so  strong 
that  no  man  might  reach  the  bark  save  on  horseback.  "What  shall  we 
do  now?"  asked  Gandin.  "How  may  my  lady  come  aboard?" 

"See,  Sir  Knight,"  quoth  the  minstrel,  "since  I  am  sure  thou  wilt  take 
me  hence  with  thee,  I  think  but  little  of  what  I  have  here  in  Cornwall* 
.1  have  a  horse  near  by;  I  ween  he  shall  be  tall  enough  to  carry  my  ladyj 
thy  friend,  over  to  the  bark  without  the  sea  wetting  her." 

Gandin  said:  "Good  minstrel,  haste,  bring  thy  horse  hither,  and  take 
also  the  robe  I  promised  thee." 

Tristan  fetched  his  horse  swiftly,  and  when  he  came  back  he  swung 
his  harp  behind  him  and  cried:  "Now,  knight  of  Ireland,  give  me  my 
lady,  I  will  carry  her  before  me  through  the  water." 

"Nay,  minstrel,  thou  shalt  not  touch  her;  I  will  carry  her  myself." 

"Nay,  sir,"  said  fair  Iseult,  "  'tis  needless  to  say  he  shall  not  touch 
me.  Know  the  truth,  I  go  not  aboard  save  the  minstrel  bear  me." 

Then  Gandin  led  her  to  Tristan.  "Comrade,"  he  said,  "have  a  care 
of  her — carry  her  so  gently  that  I  shall  be  ever  grateful  to  thee." 

Now  as  soon  as  Tristan  held  Iseult  he  spurred  his  steed  forward,  and 
when  Gandin  saw  it  he  spake  in  wrath:  "Ha,  fool,  what  dost  thou?/' 


GERMANY— GOTTFRIED  VON  STRASSBURG  .241 

"Nay,  nay,  fool  Gandin,"  quoth  Tristan,  "  'tis  thou  who  art  the  fool; 
what  thou  didst  steal  from  King  Mark  by  the  lute,  that  I  do  bear  away 
with  my  harp.  Thou  didst  betray,  now  art  thou  betrayed.  Tristan  has 
followed  thee  till  he  has  befooled  thee!  Friend,  thou  hast  indeed  given 
me  a  rich  garment,  even  the  richest  that  thy  tent  did  hold." 

With  that  Tristan  rode  his  way,  leaving  Gandin  beyond  measure  sor- 
rowful; his  loss  and  his  shame  cut  him  to  the  heart;  mourning,  he  re- 
turned over-seas. 

Tristan  and  Iseult  rode  homeward,  rejoicing  in  their  love;  and  when 
they  came  to  the  palace,  Tristan  led  the  queen  to  King  Mark,  and  spake 
bitterly:  "Sire,  God  knoweth,  if  thou  dost  hold  thy  queen  so  dear  as  thou 
sayest,  'tis  a  great  folly  to  give  her  up  lightly  for  mere  lute  or  harp  play! 
The  world  may  well  mock!  Whoever  saw  a  queen  the  chattel  of  a  lay? 
Henceforth  bethink  thee,  and  guard  my  lady  better." 


BRUIN  THE  BEAR  AND  REYNARD  THE  FOX 

(Anonymous:  about  1230) 


known  of  the  writer  of  the  first  version  of  the  cele- 
brated Reynard  the  Fox.  The  problem  of  the  origin  of  the  book 
is  complicated,  but  it  is  generally  agreed  that  a  series  of  incidents 
attributed  to  an  Alsatian  writer  of  the  late  Twelfth  Century  was 
the  basis  of  the  book  as  it  stands  in  the  version  here  used.  This  was 
printed  in  1498,  though  it  was  probably  written  about  1230. 
Reynard  was  soon  afterwards  translated  into  nearly  every  language 
of  Europe.  The  book,  in  one  form  or  another,  has  been  a  popular 
favourite  among  all  classes  of  readers,  and  has  for  centuries  been 
rewritten  to  suit  the  tastes  of  each  generation. 

The  present  version,  translated  by  Thomas  Roscoe,  is  reprinted 
from  Roscoe's  German  Novelists,  London,  no  date.  It  is  Chapter 
IV  of  The  Pleasant  History  of  Reynard  the  Fox.  The  full  title 
of  the  chapter  is  How  Bruin  the  Bear  Sfed  with  Reynard  the 
Fox,  followed  by  a  brief  description. 


BRUIN  THE  BEAR  AND  REYNARD  THE  FOX 
(From  Reynard  the  Fox) 

THE  next  morning  away  went  Sir  Bruin  the  bear  in  quest  of  the  fox, 
armed  against  all  kinds  of  plots  and  deceit  whatsoever;  and  as  he 
went  along  through  a  dark  forest  in  which  Reynard  had  a  by-path  which 


242  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

he  used  when  he  was  out  hunting  or  being  hunted,  he  saw  a  high  moun- 
tain, pver  which  he  must  pass  to  reach  Malepardus.  For  though  Reynard 
had  many  houses,  Malepardus  is  his  chief  and  most  ancient  castle,  and 
there  he  resorted  both  for  defense  and  pleasure.  When  Bruin  at  length 
came  to  the  place>  he  found  the  gates  close  shut;  at  which,  after  he  had 
knocked,  sitting  upon  his  tail,  he  called  aloud,  "Sir  Reynard,  are  you  at 
home?  I  am  Bruin,  your  kinsman,  sent  by  the  king  to  summon  you  to 
court,  to  answer  the  many  foul  accusations  laid  at  your  door.  His  majesty 
hath  taken  a  great  vow  that  if  you  fail  to  appear  to  the  summons,  your 
life  shall  answer  for  your  contempt,  and  your  whole  goods  and  honors 
become  confiscated  to  the  crown.  Therefore,  fair  kinsman,  be  advised  by 
your  friend,  and  come  with  me  to  court,  in  order  to  shun  the  fate  that 
will  otherwise  overtake  you":  so  said  the  bear.  Reynard,  who  was  lying 
near  the  gate,  as  was  his  custom,  basking  in  the  sun,  hearing  these  words, 
departed  into  one  of  his  holes,  Malepardus  being  full  of  many  intricate 
and  curious  apartments,  through  which  he  could  pass  in  case  of  danger 
or  for  objects  of  prey,  where  he  determined  to  commune  with  himself 
awhile  how  best  he  might  counterplot,  and  bring  the  bear  into  disgrace, 
while  he  added  to  his  own  credit,  for  he  detested  the  bear;  and  at  last 
coming  forth,  said,  "Is  it  you,  dear  uncle  Bruin?  you  are  exceeding  wel- 
come, and  excuse  my  delay  in  saying  so;  but  the  truth  is,  that  when  you 
began  to  speak  I  was  saying  my  vespers,  and  devotion  must  not  be 
neglected  for  any  worldly  concerns.  Yet  I  believe  he  hath  done  you  no 
good  service,  nor  do  I  thank  him  who  hath  sent  you  hither,  a  long  and 
weary  journey,  in  which  your  sweat  and  toil  far  exceed  the  worth  of 
the  labor  performed.  It  is  certain,  that  had  you  not  come,  I  had  to- 
morrow attended  the  court  of  mine  own  accord.  As  it  is,  however,  my 
regret  is  much  diminished,  because  your  counsel  just  at  this  time  may 
turn  to  my  double  benefit.  Alas!  uncle,  could  his  majesty  find  no  meaner 
a  messenger  than  your  noble  self  to  employ  in  these  trivial  affairs?  Truly 
it  appears  strange  to  me,  especially  since,  next  his  royal  self,  you  are  of 
greatest  renown,  both  in  point  of  blood  and  riches.  For  my  part,  I  would 
that  we  were  both  at  court,  as  I  fear  our  journey  will  be  exceedingly 
troublesome.  To  say  truth,  since  my  entire  abstinence  from  flesh,  I  have 
lived  upon  strange  new  meats,  which  have  very  much  disagreed  with  me, 
and  swelled  my  body  as  if  it  was  about  to  burst."  "Alas!  dear  cousin," 
said  the  bear,  "what  kind  of  meat  can  it  be  that  makes  you  so  ill?" 
"Uncle,"  he  replied,  "what  will  it  avail  you  to  know?  The  food  was 
simple  and  mean:  we  poor  gentry  are  no  lords,  you  know,  but  are  glad 
to  eat  from  necessity  what  others  taste  for  mere  wantonness.  Yet  not 
to  delay  you,  that  which  I  ate  was  honeycombs,  large,  full,  and  very 
pleasant.  But,  impelled  by  hunger,  I  ate  so  very  immoderately  that  I  was 
afterwards  infinitely  distempered."  "Ay!"  quoth  Bruin;  "honeycombs, 
do  you  say?  Hold  you  them  in  such  slight  respect,  nephew?  Why,  sir,  it 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS  $43 

is  food  for  the  greatest  emperors  in  the  world.  Help  me,  fair  nephew, 
to  some  of  these  honeycombs,  and  command  me  while  I  live;  for  only 
a  small  share  I  will  be  your  servant  everlastingly."  "You  are  jesting  with 
me,  surely,  uncle,"  replied  the  fox.  "Jest  with  you!"  cried  Bruiii;  "be- 
shrew  my  heart,  then;  for  I  am  in  such  serious  good  earnest,  that  for  a 
single  lick  of  the  same  you  shall  count  me  among  the  most  faithful  of 
your  kindred."  "Nay,  if  you  be,"  returned  Reynard,  "I  will  bring  you 
where  ten  of  you  would  not  be  able  to  eat  the  whole  at  a  meal.  This  I 
do  out  of  friendship,  for  I  wish  to  have  yours  in  return,  which  above  all 
things  I  desire."  "Not  ten  of  us,"  cried  the  bear,  "not  ten  of  us!  it  is 
impossible;  for  had  I  all  the  honey  between  Hybla  and  Portugal,  I  could 
eat  the  whole  of  it  very  shortly  myself."  "Then  know,  uncle,  that  near 
at  hand  there  dwells  a  husbandman  named  Lanfert,  who  is  master  of 
so  much  that  you  could  not  consume  it  in  seven  years,  and  this,  for  your 
love  and  friendship's  sake,  I  will  put  into  your  possession."  Bruin,  now 
mad  for  the  honey,  swore  that  for  one  good  meal  he  would  stop  the 
mouths  of  all  Reynard's  enemies.  Smiling  at  his  easy  credulity,  the  latter 
said,  "If  you  would  wish  for  seven  ton,  uncle,  you  shall  have  it";  and 
these  words  pleased  the  bear  so  much,  and  made  it  so  pleasant,  that  he 
could  not  actually  stand  for  laughing.  "Well,"  thought  the  fox,  "this 
is  good  fortune;  though  I  will  assuredly  lead  him  where  he  shall  laugh 
more  in  reaSb-a."  He  then  said,  "Uncle,  we  must  lose  no  time,  and- 1  will 
spare  no  pains,  such  as  I  would  not  undertake  for  any  of  my  kin."  The 
bear  gave  him  thanks,  and  away  they  went  together,  the  fox  promising 
as  much  honey  as  he  could  carry,  but  meaning  as  many  stripes  as  he  could 
undergo.  At  length  they  came  to  Lanfert's  house,  the  sight  of  which 
made  the  bear  caper  for  joy.  This  Lanfert  was  a  stout  brawny  carpenter, 
who  the  other  day  had  brought  into  his  yard  a  large  oak,  which  he  had 
begun  to  cleave,  and  struck  into  it  two  wedges,  so  that  the  cleft  lay  a 
great  way  open,  at  which  the  fox  rejoiced,  as  it  was  just  what  he  wished. 
Then,  with  a  smiling  countenance,  turning  to  the  bear,  "Behold  now," 
he  said,  "dear  uncle,  and  be  careful  of  yourself;  for  within  this  tree  is 
contained  so  much  honey,  that  if  you  can  get  to  it  you  will  find  it  im- 
measurable; yet  be  cautious,  good  uncle,  and  eat  moderately.  The  combs 
are  sweet  and  good,  but  a  surfeit  is  always  dangerous,  and  may  prove 
troublesome  on  your  journey,  which  I  would  not  for  the  world,  as  no 
harm  can  happen  to  you  but  must  redound  to  my  dishonor."  "Concern 
not  yourself  for  me,  faith,  nephew  Reynard;  I  am  not  such  a  fool  but 
I  can  temper  my  appetite  if  I  can  only  get  at  the  honey."  "True,  I  was 
perhaps  too  bold  to  say  what  I  did,  my  best  uncle ;  so  I  pray  you  enter  in 
at  the  end,  and  you  shall  there  find  what  you  want."  With  all  haste  the 
bear  entered  the  tree  with  his  fore  feet  forward,  and  thrust  his  head  into 
the  hole  quite  over  the  ears.  When  the  fox  saw  this,  he  instantly  ran  and 
pulled  the  wedges  out  of  the  tree,  so  that  the  bear  remained  locked  fast. 


344  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Neither  flattery  nor  anger  now  availed  the  bear,  for  his  nephew  had  got 
him  in  so  fast  a  prison,  that  it  was  impossible  to  free  himself  by  any 
maneuver.  What  profited  him  his  great  strength  and  valor  now?  They 
only  served  to  irritate  and  annoy  him;  and  deprived  of  all  relief,  he 
began  to  howl  and  bray,  to  scratch  and  tumble,  and  make  such  a  noise, 
that  Lanfert  came  running  hastily  out  of  the  house  to  see  what  was  the 
matter.  He  held  a  sharp  hook  in  his  hand,  and  while  the  bear  lay  tearing 
and  roaring  in  the  tree,  the  fox  cried  out  in  scorn,  "He  is  coming,  uncle! 
I  fear  you  will  not  like  the  honey;  is  it  good?  Do  not  eat  too  much; 
pleasant  things  are  apt  to  surfeit,  and  you  will  delay  your  journey  back 
to  court.  If  your  belly  be  too  full,  Lanfert  will  give  you  drink  to  digest 
it."  Having  said  which,  he  set  off  towards  his  castle  again.  Lanfert,  find- 
ing that  the  bear  was  taken  fast,  ran  to  his  neighbors  and  desired  them 
to  come.  The  tidings  spreading  through  the  town,  there  was  neither  man, 
woman,  nor  child  but  ran  to  see;  some  with  one  weapon  and  some  with 
another,  goads,  rakes,  and  broom-staves,  and  whatever  they  could  lay 
hands  on.  The  priest  bore  the  handle  of  a  large  cross,  the  clerk  had  holy 
water,  and  the  priest's  wife,  Dame  Jullock,  brought  her  distaff,  as  she 
happened  to  be  spinning:  nay,  the  old  beldams  came  that  had  never  a 
tooth  in  their  heads.  Hearing  the  approach  of  this  army,  Bruin  fell  into 
great  fear,  there  being  none  but  himself  to  withstand  them;  and  as  they 
came  thundering  down  upon  him,  he  struggled  so  fiercely  that  he  con- 
trived to  get  his  head  out  of  jeopardy  by  leaving  behind  the  best  part  of 
the  skin,  along  with  his  ears,  insomuch  that  never  age  beheld  a  more 
foul  ugly  beast;  for  the  blood  covered  his  face  and  hands,  leaving  his 
claws  and  skin  behind  him,  so  that  he  could  hardly  move  or  see.  It  was 
an  ill  market  he  came  to,  for  in  spite  of  this  torment  Lanfert  and  his 
crew  came  upon  him,  and  so  belabored  him  with  staves,  and  hooks,  and 
rakes,  that  it  might  well  be  a  warning  to  every  one  taken  in  misery, 
showing  how  the  weakest  must  evermore  go  to  the  wall.  This  Bruin 
cruelly  experienced,  every  one  venting  their  fury  upon  his  hide,  even 
Houghlin  with  his  crooked  leg,  and  Ludolf  with  the  long  broad  nose; 
the  one  armed  with  a  leaden  mall,  and  the  other  with  an  iron  scourge. 
None  lashed  so  hard  as  Sir  Bertolf  with  the  long  fingers,  and  none  an- 
noyed him  more  than  Lanfert  and  Ortam,  one  being  armed  with  a 
sharp  Welsh  hook,  and  the  second  with  a  crooked  staff  heavily  leaded  at 
the  end,  with  which  he  used  to  play  at  stab-ball.  There  was  Burkin  and 
Armes  Ablequack,  Bane  the  priest  with  his  cross-handle,  and  Jullock  his 
wife.  All  these  so  belabored  the  poor  bear  that  his  life  was  in  extreme 
jeopardy;  he  sat  and  sighed  sadly  during  the  massacre,  but  the  thunder- 
ing weight  of  Lanfert's  fierce  blows  was  the  most  cruel  to  bear;  for 
Dame  Podge,  at  Casport,  was  his  mother,  and  his  father  was  Marob,  the 
staple-maker,  a  passing  stout  man  when  he  was  alone.  From  him  Bruin 
received  euch  a  shower  of  stones,  at  the  same  time  that  Lanf  ert's  brother 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS  245 

wielded  him  a  savage  blow  upon  the  pate,  that  he  could  no  longer  see 
nor  hear,  but  made  a  desperate  plunge  into  the  adjoining  river,  through 
a  cluster  of  old  wives  standing  by,  many  of  whom  he  threw  into  the 
water,  which  was  broad  and  deep,  among  whom  was  the  parson's  wife. 
Seeing  her  floating  there  like  a  sea-mew,  the  holy  man  left  off  striking 
the  bear,  crying  out,  "Help,  oh,  help!  Dame  Jullock  is  in  the  water! 
I  absolve  the  man,  woman,  or  child  that  saves  her,  from  all  their  sins 
and  transgressions,  past  and  to  come,  and  I  remit  all  penance."  Hearing 
this,  all  left  the  pursuit  of  the  bear  to  succor  Dame  Jullock,  upon  which 
Bruin  cut  the  stream  with  fresh  strength,  and  swam  away.  The  priest 
only  pursued  him,  crying  in  great  rage,  "Turn,  villain,  turn,  that  I  may 
be  revenged  upon  thee!"  But  the  bear,  having  the  advantage  of  the 
stream,  heeded  not  his  calling,  for  he  was  proud  of  the  triumph  of  hav- 
ing escaped  from  them.  He  bitterly  cursed  the  honey  tree,  and  more  bit- 
terly the  fox,  who  had  not  only  betrayed  him,  but  made  him  lose  his 
hood  from  his  face  and  his  leather  gloves  from  his  fingers.  In  this  con- 
dition he  swam  about  three  miles  down  the  stream,  when  he  grew  so  very 
weary  that  he  was  obliged  to  seek  a  landing.  The  blood  trickled  down  his 
face;  he  sighed,  and  drew  his  breath  so  short  that  it  seemed  as  if  his  last 
hour  was  come. 

Meanwhile  the  fox,  on  his  way  home,  had  stolen  a  fat  pullet,  and 
running  tfiniugh  a  by-path  to  elude  pursuit,  he  now  came  towards  the 
river  with  infinite  joy.  For  he  never  doubted  but  the  bear  was  slain,  and 
he  therefore  said,  "My  fortune  is  made,  for  my  greatest  enemy  at  the 
court  is  dead,  and  no  one  can  suspect  me."  But  as  he  spoke,  looking 
towards  the  river-side,  he  espied  the  bear  lying  down  to  ease  his  grievous 
wounds.  At  this  sight  Reynard's  heart  misgave  him,  and  he  railed  bit- 
terly against  Lanfert  the  carpenter,  cursing  him  for  a  silly  fool,  that  did 
not  know  how  to  kill  a  bear  in  a  trap.  "What  madman,"  he  cried, 
"would  have  lost  such  good  venison?  so  fat  and  wholesome,  and  which 
lay  taken  to  his  hand.  A  wise  man  would  have  been  proud  of  the  for- 
tune which  thou,  like  a  fool,  hast  neglected."  Thus  fretting  and  chid- 
ing, he  came  to  the  river,  where  he  found  the  bear  covered  with  wounds, 
which  Reynard  alone  had  caused.  Yet  he  said  in  scorn  as  he  passed, 
"Monsieur,  Dieu  vous  garde!"  "O  thou  foul  red  villain!"  said  the  bear 
to  himself.  "What  impudence  can  equal  thine?"  But  the  fox  continued 
his  speech:  "What,  uncle,  have  you  forgotten  everything  at  Lanfert's,  or 
have  you  paid  for  the  honeycombs  you  stole?  I  would  rather  pay  for 
them  myself  than  that  you  should  incur  any  disgrace.  If  the  honey  was 
good,  you  may  have  plenty  more  at  the  same  price.  Good  uncle,  tell  me 
before  I  go,  into  what  order  you  mean  to  enter,  that  you  wear  this  new- 
fashioned  hood?  Will  you  be  a  monk,  an  abbot,  or  a  friar?  He  that 
shaved  your  crown  seems  also  to  have  cropped  your  ears;  your  forelock 
is  lost,  and  your  leather  gloves  are  gone.  Fie,  sloven!  go  not  bareheaded! 


246  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

They  say  you  can  sing  peccavi  rarely/'  These  taunts  made  Bruin  mad 
With  rage;  but  because  he  could  not  take  revenge,  he  was  obliged  to  let 
him  talk  on.  At  last,  to  avoid  him,  he  plunged  again  into  the  river  and 
landed  on  the  other  side,  where  he  began  to  meditate  how  best  he  might 
reach  the  court;  for  he  had  lost  both  his  ears  and  his  talons,  and  could 
scarcely  walk.  Yet  of  necessity  he  must  move  forward,  which  he  could 
only  do  by  setting  his  buttocks  upon  the  ground,  and  tumbling  his  body 
over  and  over.  In  this  manner  he  first  rolled  about  half  a  mile,  then 
rested,  and  rolled  another  half-mile,  until  by  -dint  of  perseverance  he 
tumbled  his  way  to  court.  Witnessing  his  strange  method  of  approach,  a 
number  of  courtiers  gazed  upon  him  as  a  sort  of  prodigy,  little  deeming 
that  it  was  the  famous  Sir  Bruin  the  bear. 

The  king  himself  was  the  first  who  recognized  him,  and  he  said,  "It 
is  Sir  Bruin  my  servant:  what  villains  have  wounded  him  thus?  Where 
can  he  have  been,  that  he  could  contrive  it — to  bring  his  death  as  it 
were  back  with  him?  let  us  hear  what  tidings  he  has  got."  "O  my  dread 
sovereign  lord  the  king,"  cried  out  the  bear,  "I  have  to  complain  griev- 
ously. Behold  how  I  am  massacred ;  a  massacre  I  humbly  beseech  you  to 
revenge  on  that  false  malignant  Reynard,  who  hath  wrought  me  this 
foul  disgrace  and  slaughter,  merely  because  I  have  done  your  royal 
pleasure  in  conveying  him  a  summons  to  court."  His  majesty  then  said, 
"How  durst  he  do  this  thing?  Now,  by  my  crown  I  sweai^  I  will  take 
such  revenge  as  shall  make  the  traitor  tremble,  and  remember  the  foul 
deed."  So  forthwith  the  king  summoned  his  whole  council,  and  con- 
sulted how  and  in  what  way  to  proceed  most  efficaciously  against  the  wily 
fox.  At  length,  after  much  discussion,  it  was  unanimously  concluded 
that  he  should  be  again  summoned  to  appear  and  answer  his  transgres- 
sions in  person.  The  party  now  appointed  to  execute  the  summons  was 
Tibert  the  cat,  being  equally  recommended  for  his  gravity  and  his  wis- 
dom; an  appointment  likewise  well  pleasing  to  the  king. 


EULENSPIEGEL  AND  THE  MERCHANT 

(Anonymous:  about  1500) 

THE  earliest  known  version  of  EuUnspicgel  dates  from  1515? 
though  an  edition  is  said  to  have  been  printed  in  1483.  Nothing  at 
all  is  known  about  the  author.  The  merry  pranks  of  Eulenspiegel, 
like  the  adventures  of  Reynard  and  his  companions,  formed  the  basis 
of  several  collections  of  adventures  in  the  late  Sixteenth  and  early 
Seventeenth  Centuries.  They  were  utilized  in  the  Nineteenth  Cen- 
tury by  the  Belgian  Charles  de  Coster.  The  original  book,  in  the 
words  of  Roscoe,  is  "a  national  storehouse  of  amusement  from  which 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS  *47 

each  successive  generation  has  largely  drawn."  Like  most  of  the 
books  of  its  kind,  it  was  derived  from  fables  and  popular  traditions. 
The  present  version,  translated  by  Thomas  Roscoe,  is  reprinted 
from  Roscoe's  German  Novelists,  London,  no  date.  It  is  one  of  the 
separate  adventures  apd  has  only  a  descriptive  note  by  way  of  title. 


EULENSPIEGEL  AND  THE  MERCHANT 
(From  Eulensfiegel,  the  Merry  Jester) 

IN  the  town  of  Herdcllem  there  resided  a  rich  merchant,  who,  hap- 
pening one  day  to  be  walking  in  one  of  his  own  fields,  a  short  way 
out  of  the  city,  saw  Howleglass  lying  on  the  green.  He  inquired  who 
he  was.  To  this  Howleglass  replied,  "I  am  a  cook  without  a  master,  and 
I  have  been  a  cook's  servant,  otherwise  a  scullion;  but  that  is  now  not 
a  place  for  me."  The  merchant  said,  "If  you  like  to  become  my  servant, 
I  will  give  you  good  board  and  wages,  besides  your  clothes;  you  shall 
have  a  trial,  for  my  wife  is  continually  bickering  one  after  another  with 
all  her  cooks."  Howleglass  promised  to  do  his  best  to  please  him;  and  his 
new  master  asked  his  name,  to  which  our  hero  replied  that  it  was  Bar- 
tholomew. *"JThe  name,"  said  the  merchant,  "is  too  long;  you  shall  be 
called  Dot."  "Sir,"  said  Howleglass,  "just  as  you  like  best,  it  pleases  me 
well."  "Then  come,"  added  his  master,  "you  are  the  sort  of  man  I 
want;  let  us  go  directly  into  my  garden  to  gather  herbs  for  the  young 
boiled  chickens,  as  to-morrow  I  have  a  party  coming,  and  we  must  make 
merry  with  the  best  cheer."  So  they  went  to  the  house,  and  when  the 
merchant's  wife  saw  them  come  in,  she  said,  "Heyday,  master  mine, 
what  kind  of  a  servant  have  you  brought  us  here?  Are  you  afraid  lest 
the  bread  should  be  left  to  grow  moldy?  What  is  he  for?"  "Oh,  you 
shall  see  that,  my  dear,  to-morrow.  Here,  Dol,  take  this  pannier,  and 
follow  me  to  the  shambles." 

Away  they  went,  and  the  merchant  bought  some  pieces  of  roasting 
meat,  saying  on  his  return,  "Now,  Dol,  remember  when  you  put  this 
sirloin  down  to-morrow,  that  you  leave  it  to  do  coolly  at  a  distance,  so 
as  not  to  catch  or  singe;  the  boiling  piece  you  may  put  on  a  good  deal 
earlier." 

"Very  good,  master,"  said  Howleglass,  "it  shall  be  done."  So  the  next 
morning  he  rose  betimes  and  brought  the  meat  he  was  to  boil  near  the 
fire.  But  that  which  he  intended  to  roast  he  stuck  upon  the  spit,  and 
placed  it  at  a  cool  distance  as  he  had  been  told  (namely,  in  the  cellar 
between  two  barrels  of  beer)  from  the  fire.  Now,  before  the  merchant's 
guests  had  assembled,  he  went  to  see  that  all  was  going  on  well  in  the  • 
kitchen  (for  his  wife  was  a  fine  lady),  and  he  inquired  whether  the 


248  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLIJ 

dinner  was  almost  ready,  to  which  Howleglass  made  answer,  "Yes, 
everything  but  the  roast  beef."  "Everything  but!"  exclaimed  the  mer- 
chant; "and  where  is  that?"  "It  is  on  the  spit,"  answered  Howleglass; 
"it  is  doing  cool  at  a  distance,  as  you  desired,  in  the  coolest  place  in  the 
house,  which  is  the  beer  cellar.  You  did  not  say  when  you  would  like  to 
have  it  roasted."  While  his  master  was  discussing  this  point  with  Howie- 
glass,  the  guests  began  to  arrive,  to  whom  he  candidly  related  the  inci- 
dent, at  which  some  looked  grave  and  others  laughed,  while  his  lady  was 
least  of  all  satisfied  with  the  joke.  Indeed,  she  proposed  an  ejectment  of 
the  new  cook  from  the  premises  forthwith. 

"My  love,"  said  the  merchant,  "give  yourself  no  kind  of  uneasiness 
about  that!  To-morrow  I  am  going  to  Gollai,  and  he  must  see  me  there; 
but  on  my  return  he  shall  be  discharged."  Then  they  all  proceeded  to 
dinner,  and  made  as  good  cheer  as  they  could  upon  what  they  had  got. 
In  the  evening  when  all  was  over,  his  master  called  Howleglass,  and 
said,  "Dol,  see  that  my  coach  is  in  readiness  early  to-morrow  morning, 
for  I  and  the  priest  are  going  as  far  as  Gollai,  so  look  that  it  be  well 
cleaned  and  greased."  Accordingly  when  the  whole  family  were  abed, 
Howleglass  proceeded  to  grease  the  chariot  well  both  inside  and  out.  And 
in  the  morning  our  merchant  and  the  priest  mounted  to  drive  off;  but 
slip  went  the  priest  wherever  he  laid  his  hand  or  foot!  And  he  had  many 
a  time  nearly  broken  his  neck  as  they  drove  along.  "What  the  deuce," 
he  cried,  "can  it  be  that  it  is  so  thick  and  greasy?" 

So  they  stopped  and  called  Howleglass  in  a  great  passion,  inquiring 
what  vile  work  he  had  been  doing,  and  swore  and  threatened  dreadfully. 
Just  then  a  wagon-load  of  straw  luckily  went  by,  and  the  unhappy  party 
purchased  a  small  quantity,  with  which  to  purify  the  well-bedizened 
chariot.  Quite  enraged,  the  merchant  cried  out,  "Off  to  the  gallows,  you 
rascal!"  and  soon  after  Howleglass  saw  one  not  far  from  the  roadside, 
and  driving  the  chariot  right  underneath  it,  he  was  proceeding  very 
leisurely  to  unharness  the  horses.  "What  is  it  that  you  are  about,  vil- 
lain?" said  his  master.  "Why,"  replied  Howleglass,  "did  not  you  order 
me  to  drive  off  to  the  gallows?  where  I  thought  I  was  to  set  you  down." 
On  looking  up,  the  priest  and  the  merchant  sure  enough  saw  the  gibbet; 
upon  which  his  master,  being  seized  with  a  panic,  commanded  him  to 
back,  and  drive  right  away  as  hard  as  he  could  flog.  Hearing  this,  Howie- 
glass  dashed  neck  and  nothing  through  the  mud,  so  that  by  the  horrible 
pulling  and  tearing,  the  vehicle  came  straight  in  two,  jie  hinder  part 
remaining  with  the  merchant  and  the  priest  stuck  in  the  mud,  and  the 
other  proceeding  with  Howleglass  and  the  horses  just  as  if  nothing  had 
happened.  At  length  with  much  shouting  and  running  the  merchant  over- 
took  his  driver,  and  was  beginning  to  inflict  summary  vengeance  upon 
him,  when  the  priest  came  up  and  prevented  him;  and  in  this  fashion 
they  contrived  to  accomplish  their  journey,  and  so  home  again.  Well! 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS 

his  wife  inquired  how  the  merchant  had  enjoyed  his  journey?  "Oh,  de- 
lightful," sried  the  merchant,  "now  that  we  are  safely  returned."  Then 
he, called  Howleglass,  saying,  "To-night  eat  and  drink  to  your  heart's 
content,  for  to-morrow  you  quit  this  house.  I  cannot  keep  you,  you  are 
too  great  a  malicious  rascal  for  me."  "All  right,  master,"  said  Howle- 
glass. And  in  the  morning  when  the  merchant  went  out,  he  again  said, 
"Eat  and  drink,  take  as  much  as  you  like,  but  do  not  let  me  find  you 
here  when  I  come  home  from  church."  So  while  the  family  was  at  church, 
Howleglass  proceeded  as  he  had  been  ordered  to  take  what  he  liked;  and 
very  shortly  he  had  almost  completely  gutted  the  house.  In  short,  the 
merchant  met  him  with  a  whole  load  of  his  goods  in  the  street  as  he 
was  coming  from  church.  "Ha!  my  honest  cook,"  he  cried,  "what  are 
you  dressing  now?"  "What  you  commanded  me  to  do,"  replied  Howle- 
glass: "you  informed  me  that  I  might  take  what  I  liked,  and  rid  the 
house  of  me."  "Leave  these  things  where  they  are,"  exclaimed  the  mer- 
chant, "and  go  to  the  devil  if  you  please."  Howleglass  said,  "I  do  every- 
thing that  my  masters  order  me,  and  yet  I  cannot  live  in  peace."  So  he 
quitted  the  merchant  in  a  huff,  whom  he  was  sorry  again  to  have  met  with, 
while  the  former  had  his  goods  conveyed  back  to  the  house. 


DOCTOR  FAUST  AND  THE  USURER 

(Anonymous:  Late  i6th  Century) 

THE  author  of  the  so-called  Chapbook  of  Dr.  Faust  was  in  all 
probability  a  Lutheran  pastor.  The  first  known  edition  appeared  in 
1587.  It  is  a  loosely  constructed  collection  of  incidents  more  or  less 
remotely  centred  in  the  actual  career  of  Dr.  Faust,  who  died 
some  fifty  years  before.  It  is  a  "curious  patchwork  of  genuine 
folk  tales  that  were  really  current  about  Doctor  Faust  .  .  .  and 
learned  demonological  rubbish  taken  from  preexistent  treatises."  A 
version  of  this  chapbook  fell  into  the  hands  of  Christopher  Mar- 
lowe; to  this  we  owe  Dr.  Faustus,  as  well  as  the  Faust  of  Goethe. 
The  present  version,  translated  by  Thomas  Roscoe,  is  reprinted 
from  Roscoe's  German  Nwelistsy  London,  no  date.  It  is  one  of 
the  separate  incidents  in  the  Life&  It  bears  only  a  long  description 
by  way  of  title. 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

DOCTOR  FAUST  AND  THE  USURER 
(From  The  History  of  Dr.  J.  Faust  .  .  . ,  etc.) 

IT  used  to  be  an  old  saying  that  the  conjuror,  "charm  he  never  so 
wisely,"  for  the  year  together,  was  never  half  a  stiver  richer  in  the 
world  for  his  pains.  Now  Doctor  Faustus  began  to  experience  the  truth  of 
this,  inasmuch  as  the  grand  promises  made  by  his  demon  in  their  first 
contract  were  mere  bubbles,  well  worthy  of  their  proprietor — a  liar  and 
the  father  of  lies.  For  he  had  led  the  Doctor  to  believe  that  he  was  com- 
pelled into  the  service  and  overreached  by  him,  so  that  vast  riches  would 
flow  in  upon  him.  Four  years  of  his  demon's  apprenticeship  had  yet  to 
run,  though  he  was  still  not  a  whit  the  richer,  either  in  gold  or  goods, 
for  all  that  Mephistopheles  had  done.  It  was  agreed  likewise  he  was  to 
partake  only  of  the  best  fare  that  could  be  obtained  at  princes'  courts 
wheresoever  he  should  travel,  as  we  have  already  seen.  On  this  account 
he  had  held  a  variety  of  disputations  with  his  familiar  demon,  which 
generally  ended,  however,  by  his  inviting  some  boon  companions  to  come 
and  banquet  with  him.  At  length,  finding  himself  in  want  of  ready  cash, 
he  was  compelled  to  apply  to  a  certain  Jew,  with  whom  in  the  first 
instance  he  agreed  for  sixty  dollars,  which  he  promised  to  return  in  the 
space  of  one  month.  This  being  expired,  the  Jew  went  to  demand  his 
dollars  with  the  interest  which  was  become  due,  when  the  Doctor  re- 
plied to  his^ application  as  follows:  "Jew>  I  have  no  money;  and  I  have 
no  means,  just  now,  of  procuring  any.  However,  if  you  are  willing  to 
accept  good  security,  I  think  we  can  come  to  terms.  I  will  give  you  either 
an  arm  or  a  leg,  whichever  shall  best  please  you,  and  which  shall  be 
made  over  to  you  as  a  pledge  of  mortgage;  though  under  this  one  condi- 
tion: that  as  soon  as  I  shall  have  the  money  forthcoming,  you  will  be 
prepared  to  restore  to  me  my  leg."  Now,  the  Jew,  being  naturally  every 
good  Christian's  enemy,  thought  to  himself,  I  am  glad  of  this,  but  he 
must  be  a  most  singular  genius  to  think  of  pawning  me  his  life  and 
blood  for  the  sake  of  money.  What  can  I  do  with  such  security  as  this? 
But  meanwhile  Doctor  Faustus,  taking  out  a  saw,  was  very  leisurely  saw- 
ing off  his  leg,  which  he  handed  to  the  Jew  (though  it  was  all  mere 
illusion),  repeating  the  same  condition  that  he  was  to  return  it  the  mo- 
ment he  should  obtain  the  money,  as  he  (the  Doctor)  knew  how  to  set 
it  in  its  place  again.  So  the  Jew,  not  a  little  pleased  with  his  contract, 
marched  off  with  the  Doctor's  leg.  When  he  had  kept  it,  however,  a  short 
time,  he  began  to  think,  What  shall  I  .do  with  this  rogue  of  a  Christian's 
limb?  If  I  carry  it  about  with  me  I  shall  be  poisoned  with  the  stench, 
besides  its  being  of  no  further  use  to  him  when  he  shall  want  it,  how- 
ever good  a  security,  for  what  more  could  he  give?  Being  at  length  quite 


GERMANY— ANONYMOUS  251 

puzzled  in  which  way  to  act  for  the  best,  one  day  as  he  was  crossing  over 
a  bridge,  weary  with  calculating  fro  et  contra^  he  threw  the  Doctor's 
leg  into  the  water,  and  thought  himself  well  rid  of  it.  Doctor  Faustus, 
fully  aware  of  what  had  passed,  sent  notice  to  the  Jew  three  days  after- 
wards that  he  was  ready  to  repay  him  the  money.  The  latter  repented 
now  that  he  had  been  so  hasty,  but  he  went.  The  first  question  put  by 
the  Doctor  was  what  he  had  done  with  his  pledge.  "What  have  I  done!" 
replied  the  Jew.  "What  could  I  do  with  it?  It  was  of  no  use,  and  I 
threw  it  away."  The  Doctor  on  hearing  this  took  the  Jew  roundly  to 
task,  declaring  that  he  must  have  his  leg  again,  come  what  would,  or  that 
he  (the  Jew)  must  look  for  the  consequences.  Alarmed  at  the  violence 
of  the  Doctor's  threats,  the  unlucky  Israelite  at  length  consented  to  adjust 
the  matter  by  further  advancing  sixty  dollars,  in  order  to  avoid  the  terrors 
of  the  law. 


CHRISTIAN  GELLERT 

(1715-1769) 

THE  son  of  a  Saxon  clergyman,  Christian  Furchtegott  (meaning 
Christian  Fear-God)  Gellert  is  said  to  have  exemplified  by  his 
life  the*  meaning  of  his  names.  For  years  a  victim  of  ill-health  and 
a  hypochondriac,  he  spent  the  last  part  of  his  life  lecturing  on 
poetry  at  the  University  of  Leipzig.  He  wrote  plays,  novels,  fables 
and  tales,  but  is  to-day  remembered  only  for  his  Tables  and  Talcs 
in  verse  (1746-1748).  These  are  written  in  a  sprightly  manner, 
and  are  conceived  and  executed  with  a  delicacy  that  was  rare  among 
the  German  writers  of  Gellert's  day. 

The  Sick  Wife,  one  of  the  Fables  and  Tales,  is  translated  espe- 
cially for  this  volume,  by  Barrett  H.  Clark. 


THE  SICK  WIFE 

"TTTTHO  can  estimate  the  innumerable  evils  that  constantly  threaten  the 
v  v      health  and  well-being  of  mankind?   It  is  needful  that  we  in- 
quire into  their  causes,  for  the  more  we  know  of  the  dangers  the  better 
able  are  we  to  avoid  trouble. 

The  fair  young  Sulpicia,  dearly  beloved  of  her  husband,  went  off  one 
day  to  visit  a  friend.  Though  she  left  home  in  the  best  of  health,  she 
returned  half  dead,  it  seemed,  and  at  once  threw  herself  down  upon 
her  bed.  Could  it  be  that  her  circulation  had  suddenly  stopped?  Her 
clothes  were  loosened,  and  three  pairs  of  hands  made  busy  to  assist  her. 
None  too  many,  forsooth! 


252  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

The  poor  young  husband  dissolved  in  a  flood  of  tears:  who  could 
fail  to  be  affected  by  so  serious  a  situation?  It  was  still  too  early,  after 
but  a  single  year  of  marriage,  to  wish  to  be  rid  of  his  wife!  So  he 
sent  immediately  for  a  physician.  The  youthful  ./Esculapius  appeared*  on 
the  scene  in  full  regalia.  Seating  himself  on  the  edge  of  the  patient's 
bed,  he  assumed  an  expression  as  much  as  to  say  he  had  precisely  the 
right  remedy.  He  felt  the  wife's  pulse,  and  wondered  to  himself  what 
his  medical  books  recommended  in  a  case  of  this  sort.  But  he  ordered 
pen  and  ink  to  be  brought  him  at  once,  and  sat  down  to  write.  A  servant 
was  sent  post-haste,  and  meantime  the  husband  inquired!  what  could  be 
the  trouble  with  his  wife?  The  physician  looked  at  him  and  smiled: 

"You  ask  me  what  is  the  matter?  There  is  really  no  need  to  tell  you 
that.  You  know,  it  is  a  very  good  sign  when  young  wives  fret  and  com- 
plain!" 

At  this  news  the  husband  was  overjoyed. 

The  night  passed.  The  patient  drank  her  potion,  but  it  had  no  effect 
upon  her  at  all.  Another  physician  had  to  be  summoned. 

Patience!  At  last  they  were  about  to  discover  what  really  ailed  the 
woman.  The  second  physician  was  in  no  doubt:  she  was  coming  down 
with  the  smallpox! 

Well,  first  she  was  going  to  become  a  mother,  and  then  it  was  a  case 
of  smallpox! 

Say  no  more,  Doctors,  and  prescribe  nothing  further,  for  one  of  you 
at  least  is  entirely  in  the  wrong!  Rather  leave  her  in  the  hands  of  Nature 
and  to  the  mercies  of  her  own  comfortable  bed.  No  matter  how  dan- 
gerous the  disease,  it  is  not  half  so  dangerous  as  the  Doctors'  cures. 

Patience!  Perhaps  she  will  recover  to-day. 

Her  good  husband  never  left  her  side,  and  not  a  half-hour  passed  but  he 
asked  her  a  hundred  times  if  she  didn't  feel  a  little  better?  My  good 
fellow,  what  use  is  that?  Will  your  talk  not  make  her  worse? 

She  spoke  in  gasps.  It  was  easy  to  see  by  her  speech  that  the  pain  was 
increasing.  Alas,  poor  woman!  Death  seemed  at  hand.  It  would  be  a 
blessed  release  from  her  agony. 

But  hark!  Who  knocks?  It  must  be  the  Doctor?  No. 

It  was  a  tailor,  bringing  a  dress.  Ha,  he  comes  in  good  time! 

"Is  it,"  asks  the  wife  with  great  difficulty,  "my  funeral  dress?  Alas, 
I  will  look  quite  as  pale.  Had  Heaven  permitted  me  to  live,  I  would  have 
ordered  a  dress  like  that,  of  the  same  kind  of  material.  The  tailor  would 
know  just  how  to  make  it.  He  made  one  for  my  friend.  It's  the  loveliest 
dress  in  the  whole  world.  Last  time  I  called  on  her  she  wore  it.  Ah,  how 
short  is  life.  All  is  vanity!" 

Take  courage,  grief-stricken  husband!  You  hear,  do  you  not,  that 
your  wife  can  at  last  speak  with  considerable  ease?  Don't  lose  hope.  The 
breath  has  not  yet  left  her  body. 


GERMANY— GELLERT  353 

The  tailor  left  the  room,  and  the  husband  went  out  with  him,  and 
the  two  spoke  secretly  together  behind  the  closed  door.  The  tailor  swore 
mighty  oaths,  and  went  off  to  do  what  he  promised.  He  returned  before 
evening,  and  went  in  to  Sulpicia  who,  still  in  bed,  thanked  him  heartily 
for  coming. 

What  did  the  tailor  bring  with  him? 

He  proceeded  at  once  to  unroll  something  that  was  wrapped  in  cloth. 
What  a  wonderful  sight  to  behold!  The  selfsame  cloth,  the  rich  and 
marvelous  dress!  But  what  was  it  doing  there?  Surely  the  young  wife 
could  not  hope  to  wear  it? 

"My  dearest  angel,"  said  her  husband,  "I  would  give  everything  I  pos- 
sess to  see  you  well  again  and  wearing  this  dress!" 

"Oh,  I  am  so  ill,"  began  the  wife,  "I  am  not  even  strong  enough  to 
deny  you  anything.  I  will  get  up  from  this  bed,  so  that  you  may  see 
this  very  day  how  the  dress  becomes  me." 

The  screen  was  brought,  and  the  poor  woman,  as  weak  as  though  she 
had  lain  in  bed  a  whole  year,  got  up.  After  she  was  completely  dressed 
out  in  her  finery,  she  sat  down  and  drank  coffee.  Well  at  last!  There 
was  no  trace  of  any  illness. 

A  dress  was  what  had  ailed  her,  and  a  dress  was  the  only  effective 
remedy.  A  tailor  had  cured  what  no  physician  could  so  much  as  diagnose. 


JAKOB  GRIMM 

(1775-1863) 

WILHELM  GRIMM 
(1776-1859) 

THE  BROTHERS  GRIMM,  as  they  are  still  affectionately  called,  were 
both  scholars  of  high  repute,  and  both  professors  at  the  University 
of  Berlin.  Though  they  contributed  a  great  deal  to  the  science  of 
philology  and  the  history  of  literature,  their  fame  rests  chiefly  on 
their  collections  of  folk-tales,  issued  under  the  title  Children's  and 
Household  Stories,  in  1812  and  1814.  These  were  the  result  of 
personal  investigation  and  travel.  Little  Briar-Rose  is  only  one  of 
their  many  charming  tales.  It  is  to  be  observed  that  in  the  work  of 
the  Brothers  Grimm  the  writers  have  moulded  each  story  with  a 
conscious  art:  they  are  not  to  be  classified  as  scientists,  but  artists. 
The  present  version,  anonymously  translated,  is  reprinted  from 
an  undated  London  edition  of  the  Tales  of  the  Brothers  Grimm. 


254  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

LITTLE  BRIAR-ROSE 
(From  Children*:  and  Household  Stories) 

LONG  ago  there  was  a  king  and  a  queen.  They  said  every  day,  "Oh, 
if  we  only  had  a  child!"  and  still  they  never  got  one.  Then  it 
happened,  when  once  the  queen  was  bathing,  that  a  frog  crept  ashore 
out  of  the  water,  and  said  to  her,  "Your  wish  shall  be  fulfilled.  Before 
-a  year  passes  you  shall  bring  a  daughter  into  the  world." 

What  the  frog  said,  happened,  and  the  queen  had  a  little  girl  that  was 
so  beautiful  that  the  king  could  not  contain  himself  for  joy,  and  made 
a  great  feast.  He  invited  not  only  his  relatives,  friends,  and  acquaintances, 
but  also  the  wise  women,  that  they  might  be  gracious  and  kind  to  the 
child.  Now,  there  were  thirteen  of  them  in  his  kingdom;  but  because 
he  had  only  twelve  gold  plates  for  them  to  eat  from,  one  of  them  had 
to  stay  at  home.  The  feast  was  splendidly  celebrated,  and  when  it  was 
over  the  wise  women  gave  the  child  their  wonderful  gifts.  One  gave  her 
virtue,  another  beauty,  another  wealth,  and  so  with  everything  that  people 
want  in  the  world.  But  when  eleven  had  spoken,  suddenly  the  thirteenth 
came  in.  She  wished  to  avenge  herself,  because  she  had  not  been  asked; 
and  without  greeting  or  looking  at  anyone,  she  cried  out,  "In  her 
fifteenth  year  the  king's  daughter  shall  wound  herself  oq  a  spindle, 
and  fall  down  dead."  And  without  saying  another  word,  she  turned 
around  and  left  the  hall.  All  were  frightened.  When  the  twelfth  came 
up,  who  had  her  wish  still  to  give,  since  she  could  not  remove  the  sentence, 
but  only  soften  it,  she  said,  "Yet  it  shall  not  be  a  real  death,  but  only 
a  hundred  years'  deep  sleep,  into  which  the  king's  daughter  shall  fall." 

The  king,  who  wanted  to  save  his  dear  child  from  harm,  sent  out  an 
order  that  all  the  spindles  in  the  kingdom  should  be  burned.  But  in  the 
girl  the  gifts  of  the  wise  women  were  all  fulfilled;  for  she  was  so 
beautiful,  good,  kind,  and  sensible,  that  nobody  who  saw  her  could  help 
loving  her.  It  happened  that  just  on  the  day  when  she  was  fifteen  years 
old  the  king  and  queen  were  not  at  home,  and  the  little  girl  was  left 
quite  alone  in  the  castle.  Then  she  went  wherever  she  pleased,  looked 
in  the  rooms  and  chambers,  and  at  last  she  got  to  an  old  tower.  She 
went  up  the  narrow  winding  stairs,  and  came  to  a  little  door.  In  the  key- 
hole was  a  rusty  key,  and  when  she  turned  it  the  door  sprang  open,  and 
there  in  a  little  room  sat  an  old  woman  with  a  spindle,  and  spun  busily 
her  flax.  "Good-day,  Aunty,"  said  the  king's  daughter;  "what  are  you 
doing  there?"  "I  am  spinning,"  said  the  old  woman,  and  nodded.  "What 
sort  of  a  thing  is  that  that  jumps  about  so  gaily?"  said  the  girl.  She  took 
the  spindle  and  wanted  to  spin,  too.  But  she  had  hardly  touched  the 
spindle  before  the  spell  was  fulfilled,  and  she  pricked  her  finger  with  it. 

At  the  instant  she  felt  the  prick  she  fell  down  on  the  bed  that  stood 


GERMANY— GRIMM  2$$ 

there,  and  lay  in  a  deep  deep.  And  this  sleep  spread  over  all  die  castle. 
The  king  and  queen,  who  had  just  come  home  and  entered  the  hall,  be- 
gan to  go  to  sleep,  and  all  the  courtiers  with  them.  The  horses  went  to 
sleep  in  the  stalls,  the  dogs  in  the  yard,  the  doves  on  the  roof,  the  flies 
on  the  wall,  yes,  the  fire  that  was  flickering  on  the  hearth  grew  still 
and  went  to  sleep.  And  the  roast  meat  stopped  sputtering,  and  the  cook, 
who  was  going  to  take  the  cook-boy  by  the  hair  because  he  had  forgotten 
something,  let  him  go  and  slept.  And  the  wind  was  still,  and  no  leaf 
stirred  in  the  trees  by  the  castle. 

But  all  around  the  castle  a  hedge  of  briars  grew,  that  got  higher  every 
year  and  at  last  surrounded  the  whole  castle  and  grew  up  over  it,  so 
that  nothing  more  could  be  seen  of  it,  not  even  the  flag  on  the  roof. 
But  the  story  went  about  in  the  country  of  the  beautiful  sleeping  Briar- 
Rose  (for  so  the  king's  daughter  was  called);  so  that  from  time  to  time 
kings'  sons  came  and  tried  to  get  through  the  hedge  into  the  castle.  But 
they  could  not;  for  the  briars,  as  though  they  had  hands,  clung  fast 
together,  and  the  young  men  stuck  fast  in  them,  could  not  get  out  again, 
and  died  a  wretched  death.  After  long,  long  years,  there  came  again  a 
king's  son  to  that  country,  and  heard  how  an  old  man  told  about  the 
briar  hedge;  that  there  was  a  castle  behind  it,  in  which  a  wonderfully 
beautiful  king's  daughter  called  Briar-Rose  had  been  sleeping  for  a 
hundred  years,  and  that  the  king  and  the  queen  and  all  the  court  were 
sleeping  with  her.  He  knew,  too,  from  his  grandfather  that  many  kings' 
sons  had  already  come  and  tried  to  get  through  the  briar  hedge,  but  had 
all  been  caught  in  it  and  died  a  sad  death.  Then  the  young  man  said, 
"I  am  not  afraid.  I  will  go  and  see  the  beautiful  Briar-Rose."  The  good 
old  man  might  warn  him  as  much  as  he  pleased;  he  did  not  listen  to  his 
words. 

But  now  the  hundred  years  were  just  passed,  and  the  day  was  come 
when  Briar-Rose  was  to  wake  again.  So  when  the  king's  son  went  up 
to  the  briars,  they  were  just  great  beautiful  flowers  that  opened  of  their 
own  accord  and  let  him  through  unhurt;  and  behind  him  they  closed  to- 
gether as  a  hedge  again.  In  the  yard  he  saw  the  horses  and  the  mottled 
hounds  lying  and  sleeping;  on  the  roof  perched  the  doves,  their  heads 
stuck  under  their  wings;  and  when  he  came  into  the  house  the  flies  were 
sleeping  on  the  wall,  in  the  kitchen  the  cook  still  held  up  his  hand  as 
though  to  grab  the  boy,  and  the  maid  was  sitting  before  the  black  hen  that 
wa$  to  be  plucked.  Then  he  went  further,  and  in  the  hall  saw  all  the 
courtiers  lying  and  sleeping,  and  upon  their  throne  lay  the  king  and 
the  queen.  Then  he  went  further,  and  all  was  so  still  that  you  could 
hear  yourself  breathe;  and  at  last  he  came  to  the  tower  and  opened  the 
door  of  the  little  room  where  Briar-Rose  was  sleeping.  There  she  lay, 
and  she  was  so  beautiful  that  he  could  not  take  his  eyes  off  her;  and  he 
bent  down  and  gave  her  a  kiss.  But  just  as  he  touched  her  with  the  kiss, 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

Briar-Rose  opened  her  eyes,  awoke,  and  looked  at  him  very  kindly. 
Then  they  went  downstairs  together  5  and  the  king  awoke,  and  the  queen, 
and  all  the  courtiers,  and  made  great  eyes  at  one  another.  And  the  horses 
in  the  yard  got  up  and  shook  themselves,  the  hounds  sprang  about  and 
wagged  their  tails,  the  doves  on  the  roof  pulled  out  their  heads  from 
under  their  wings,  looked  around  and  flew  into  the  field,  the  flies  on  the 
wall  went  on  crawling,  the  fire  in  the  kitchen  started  up  and  blazed  and 
cooked  the  dinner,  the  roast  began  to  sputter  again,  and  the  cook  gave 
the  boy  such  a  box  on  the  ear  that  he  screamed,  and  the  maid  finished 
plucking  the  hen.  Then  the  wedding  of  the  king's  son  with  Briar-Rose 
was  splendidly  celebrated,  and  they  lived  happy  till  their  lives'  end. 


E.  T.  A.  HOFFMANN    ' 
(1776-1822) 

ERNST  THEODOR  AMADEUS  HOFFMANN  was  a  master  of  one  par- 
ticular type  of  short  story,  which  was  to  a  great  extent  a  product 
of  the  romantic  tendencies  of  his  times.  His  earliest  collection  of 
tales,  Fantasy  Pieces  in  the  Manner  of  Callot,  are  characterized 
by  those  qualities  of  fantasy  and  mystery  with  which  his  name  is 
always  associated.  The  collection  under  the  title  of  The  Serafion 
Brethren,  is  set  within  a  "frame-narrative  of  the  story-telling  club 
in  Berlin,  where  Hoffmann  spent  the  last  six  years  of  his  life  as 
judge  of  a  criminal^  court."  Poe  was  especially  indebted  to  Hoff- 
mann in  the  composition  of  his  stories,  as  were  several  of  the  most 
important  Nineteenth  Century  fiction  writers  all  over  Europe. 

The  present  translation,  by  Alexander  Ewing,  is  reprinted  from 
The  Serafion  Brethren,  Bohn  Library,  London,  by  permission  of 
the  publishers,  G.  Bell  and  Sons. 


THIT  STORY  OF  SERAPION 
(From  The  Serafion  Brethren) 

OU  know  that  some  years  ago  I  spent  a  considerable  time  in 

JL      B ,  a  place -in  one  of  the  pleasantest  districts  of  the  South 

of  Germany.  As  my  habit  is,  I  used  to  take  long  walks  in  the  surround- 
ing country  by  myself,  without  any  guide,  though  I  should  often  have 
been  the  better  for  one.  On  one  of  these  occasions  I  got  into  a  piece  of 
thickly  wooded  country  and  lost  my  way;  the  farther  I  went,  the  less 
could  I  discover  the  smallest  vestige  of  a  human  footstep.  At  last  the 
wood  grew  less  thick,  and  I  saw,  not  far  from  me,  a  man  in  a  hermit's 


GERMANY— HOFFMANN  257 

brown  robe,  with  a  broad  straw  hat  on  his  head,  and  a  long,  wild  black 
beard,  sitting  on  a  rock  by  the  side  of  a  deep  ravine,  gazing,  with  folded 
hands,  thoughtfully  into  the  distance.  This  sight  had  something  so  strange, 
unexpected,  and  out  of  the  common  about  it  that  I  felt  a  shiver  of 
eeriness  and  awe.  One  can  scarcely  help  such  a  feeling  when  what  one 
has  only  heretofore  seen  in  pictures,  or  read  of  in  books,  suddenly  appears 
before  one's  eyes  in  actual,  everyday  life.  Here  was  an  anchorite  of  the 
early  ages  of  Christianity,  in  the  body,  seated  in  one  of  Salvator  Rosa's 
wild  mountain  scenes.  But  it  soon  occurred  to  me  that  probably  a  monk 
on  his  peregrinations  was  nothing  uncommon  in  that  part  of  the  country. 
So  I  walked  up  to  him,  and  asked  if  he  could  tell  me  the  shortest  way 

out  of  the  wood  to  the  high  road  leading  to  B .  He  looked  at  me 

from  head  to  foot  with  a  gloomy  glance,  and  said,  in  a  hollow  and 
solemn  voice: 

"  'I  know  well  that  it  is  merely  an  idle  curiosity  to  see  me,  and  to 
hear  me  speak  which  has  led  you  to  this  desert.  But  you  must  perceive 
that  I  have  no  time  to  talk  with  you  now.  My  friend  Ambrosius  of 
Camaldoli  is  returning  to  Alexandria.  Travel  with  him.* 

"With  which  he  arose  and  walked  down  into  the  ravine. 

"I  felt  as  if  I  must  be  in  a  dream.  Presently  I  heard  the  sound  of 
wheels  close  by.  I  made  my  way  through  the  thickets,  and  found  myself 
in  a  forest  track,  where  I  saw  a  countryman  going  along  in  a  cart.  I 
overtook  him,  and  he  shortly  brought  me  to  the  high  road  leading  to 

B .  As  we  went  along  I  told  him  my  adventure,  and  asked  if  he 

knew  who  the  extraordinary  man  in  the  forest  was. 

"  cOh,  sir,*  he  said,  'that  was  the  worthy  man  who  calls  himself  Priest 
Serapion,  and  who  has  been  living  in  these  woods  for.  some  years,  in  a 
little  hut  which  he  built  himself.  People  say  he's  not  quite  right  in  his 
head,  but  he  is  a  nice,  good  gentleman,  never  does  any  harm,  and  edifies 
us  of  the  village  with  pious  discourses,  giving  us  all  the  good  advice 
that  he  can.* 

"I  had  come  across  the  anchorite  some  six  or  eight  miles  from  B , 

so  I  concluded  that  something  must  be  known  of  him  there,  and  this 

proved  to  be  the  case.  Dr.  S told  me  all  the  story.  This  hermit  had 

once  been  one  of  the  most  brilliant  intellects,  one  of  the  most  universally 
accomplished  men  in  M ;  and  belonging,  as  he  did,  to  a  very  dis- 
tinguished family,  he  was  naturally  appointed  to  an  important  diplomatic 
post  as  soon  as  he  had  completed  his  studies:  the  duties  of  this  office  he 
discharged  with  great  ability  and  energy.  Moreover,  he  had  remarkable 
poetical  gifts,  and  everything  he  wrote  was  inspired  by  a  most  brilliant 
fancy,  a  mind  and  imagination  which  sounded  the  profoundest  depths 
of  all  subjects.  His  incomparable  humor,  and  the  unusual  charm  of  his 
character  made  him  the  most  delightful  of  companions  imaginable. 
He  had  risen  from  step  to  step  of  his  career,  and  was  on  the  point  of 


aS*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

being  despatched  on  an  important  diplomatic  mission,  when  he  disap- 
peared, in  the  most  incomprehensible  fashion,  from  M .  All  search 

for  him  was  fruitless,  and  conjecture  and  inquiry  were  baffled  by  a  com- 
bination of  circumstances. 

"After  a  time  there  appeared  amongst  the  villages,  in  the  depths  of 
the  Tyrolese  mountains,  a  man  in  a  brown  robe,  who  preached  in  these 
hamlets,  and  then  went  away  into  the  wildest  parts  of  the  forests,  where 

he  lived  the  life  of  a  hermit.  It  chanced  one  day  that  Count  P saw 

this  man  (who  called  himself  Priest  Serapion),  and  at  once  recognized 

him  as  his  unfortunate  nephew,  who  had  disappeared  from  M .  He 

was  taken  into  custody,  became  violent,  and  all  the  skill  of  the  best 

doctors  in  M could  do  nothing  to  alleviate  his  terrible  condition. 

He  was  taken  to  the  lunatic  asylum  at  B ,  and  there  the  methodical 

system,  based  upon  profound  psychological  knowledge,  pursued  by  the 
medical  man  then  in  charge  of  that  institution,  succeeded  in  bringing 
frtxnit  a  condition  of  much  less  excitement,  and  greater  quietness  in  the 
form  of  his  malady.  Whether  this  doctor,-  true  to  his  theory,  gave  the 
patient  an  opportunity  of  escaping,  or  whether  he  himself  found  the 
means  t>f  doing  so,  escape  he  did,  and  was  lost  sight  of  for  a  considerable 
time. 

"Serapion  appeared,  ultimately,  in  the  country  some  eight  miles  from 

B ,  where  I  had  seen  him;  and  the  doctor  declared  tfeat  if  any  true 

compassion  was  to  be  shown  him,  he  should  not  be  again  driven  into  a 
condition  of  wild  excitement;  but  that,  if  he  was  to  ]be  at  peace,  and, 
after  his  fashion,  happy,  he  should  be  left  in  these  woods  in  perfect 
freedom,  to  do  just  as  he  liked;  in  which  case  he,  the  said  doctor,  would 
be  responsible  for  the  consequences.  Accordingly,  the  police  authorities 
were  content  to  leave  him  to  a  distant  and  imperceptible  supervision  by 
the  officials  of  the  nearest  village,  and  the  result  bore  out  what  the  doctor 
had  said.  Serapion  built  himself  a  little  hut,  pretty,  and,  under  the  cir- 
cumstances, comfortable.  He  made  chairs  and  tables,  wove  mats  of  rushes 
to  lie  upon,  and  laid  out  a  garden  where  he  grew  flowers  and  vegetables. 
In  all  that  did  not  touch  the  idea  that  he  was  the  hermit  Serapion  who 
fled  into  the  Theban  desert  in  the  days  of  the  Emperor  Decius,  and  suf- 
fered martyrdom  in  Alexandria,  his  mind  was  completely  unaffected.  He 
could  carry  on  the  most  intellectual  conversation,  and  often  showed  traces 
of  the  brilliant  humor  and  charming  individuality  of  character  for  which 
he  had  been  remarkable  in  his  former  life.  The  aforesaid  doctor  de- 
clared him  to  be  completely  incurable,  and  strongly  deprecated  all  at- 
tempts to  restore  him  to  the  world  and  to  his.  former  pursuits  and 
duties. 

"You  will  readily  understand  that  I  could  not  drive  this  anchorite  of 
mine  out  of  my  thoughts,  and  that  I  experienced  an  irresistible  longing 
to  see  him  again.  But  just  picture  to  yourselves  the  excess  of  my  folly! 


GERMANY— HOFFMANN  959 

I  had  no  less  an  undertaking  in  my  mind  than  that  of  attacking  Serapion's 
fixed  idea  at  its  very  roots.  I  read  Pinel,  Reil,  every  conceivable  book  on 
insanity  which  I  could  lay  my  hands  on.  I  fondly  believed  that  it  might 
be  reserved  for  me,  an  amateur  psychologist  and  doctor,  to  cast  some  rays 
of  light  into  Serapion's  darkened  intelligence.  And  I  did  not  omit,  either, 
to  make  myself  acquainted  with  the  stories  of  all  the  Serapions  (there 
were  no  fewer  than  eight  of  them)  treated  of  in  the  histories  of  saints 
and  martyrs. 

"Thus  equipped,  I  set  out  one  fine  morning  in  search  of  my  anchorite. 

"I  found  him  working  in  his  garden  with  hoe  and  spade,  singing  a  de- 
votional song.  Wild  pigeons,  for  which  he  had  strewed  an  abundant 
supply  of  food,  were  fluttering  and  cooing  round  him,  and  a  young  deer 
was  peeping  through  the  leaves  on  the  trellis.  He  was  evidently  living  in 
the  closest  intimacy  with  the  woodland  creatures.  Not  the  faintest  trace 
of  insanity  was  visible  in  his  face;  it  bore  a  quiet  expression  of  remark- 
able serenity  and  happiness;  and  all  this  confirmed  what  Dr.  S in 

B had  told  me.  When  he  heard  of  my  projected  visit  to  the  an- 
chorite, he  advised  me  to  go  some  fine,  bright,  pleasant  morning,  because 
he  said,  his  mind  would  be  less  troubled  then  and  he  would  be  more  in- 
clined to  talk  to  a  stranger,  whereas  at  evening  he  would  shun  all  inter- 
course with  mankind. 

"As  soon  as  he  saw  me  he  laid  down  his  spade,  and  came  towards  me 
in  a  kind  and  friendly  manner.  I  said  that,  being  weary  with  a  longish 
journey,  I  should  be  glad  if  he  would  allow  me  to  rest  with  him  for  a 
little  while. 

"  'You  are  heartily  welcome,'  he  said.  'The  little  which  I  can  offer 
you  in  the  shape  of  refreshment  is  at  your  service.' 

"And  he  took  me  to  a  seat  of  moss  in  front  of  his  hut,  brought  out  a 
little  table,  set  on  bread,  magnificent  grapes,  and  a  can  of  wine,  and 
hospitably  begged  me  to  eat  and  drink.  He  sat  down  opposite  to  me,  and 
ate  bread  with  much  appetite,  washing  it  down  with  draughts  of  water. 

"In  good  sooth  I  did  not  see  how  I  was  to  lead  the  conversation  to 
my  subject — how  I  was  to  bring  my  psychological  science  to  bear  upon 
this  peaceful,  happy  man.  At  last  I  pulled  myself  together  and  began: 

"'You  style  yourself  Serapion,  reverend  sir?' 

<c  'Yes,  certainly,'  he  answered.  'The  Church  has  given  me  that  name.1 

"  'Ancient  ecclesiastical  history,'  I  continued,  'mentions  several  cele- 
brated holy  men  of  that  name.  An  abbot  Serapion,  known  for  his  good 
works — the  learned  Bishop  Serapion  alluded  to  by  Hieronimus  in  his  book 
De  Viris  Illustribus.  There  was  also  a  monk  Serapion,  who  (as  Hera- 
elides  relates  in  his  Paradise)  on  one  occasion,  coming  from  the 
Theban  desert  to  Rome,  ordered  a  virgin,  who  had  joined  him — saying 
she  had  renounced  the  world  and  its  pleasures — to  prove  this  by  walking 
with  him  naked  in  the  streets  of  Rome,  and  repulsed  her  when  she 


260  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

hesitated,  saying,  "You  still  live  the  life  of  Nature,  and  are  careful 
for  the  opinions  of  mankind.  Think  not  that  you  are  anything  great  or 
have  overcome  the  world."  If  I  am  not  mistaken,  reverend  sir,  this  was 
the  "filthy  monk"  (Heraclides  himself  so  styles  him)  who  suffered  a 
terrible  martyrdom  under  the  Emperor  Decius — his  limbs  being  torn 
asunder  at  the  joints,  and  his  body  thrown  down  from  a  lofty  rock.' 

"  'That  was  so/  said  Serapion,  turning  pale,  and  his  eyes  glowing  with 
a  somber  fire.  'But  Serapion  the  martyr,  had  no  connection  with  that 
monk,  who,  in  the  fury  of  his  asceticism,  did  battle  against  human 
nature.  /  am  Serapion  the  martyr,  to  whom  you  allude.' 

"'What?'  I  cried,  with  feigned  surprise.  'You  believe  that  you  are 
that* Serapion  who  suffered  such  a  hideous  martyrdom  so  many  hundred 
years  ago?' 

"  'That,'  said  Serapion  with  much  calmness,  'may  appear  incredible 
to  you,  and  I  admit  that  it  must  sound  very  wonderful  to  many  who 
cannot  see  further  than  the  points  of  their  own  noses.  However,  it  is 
as  I  tell  you.  God's  omnipotence  permitted  me  to  survive  my  martyrdom, 
and  to  recover  from  its  effects,  because  it  was  ordained,  in  His  myste- 
rious providence,  that  I  had  still  to  pass  a  certain  period  of  my  existence, 
to  His  praise  and  glory,  here  in  the  Theban  desert.  There  is  nothing 
now  to  remind  me  of  the  tortures  which  I.  suffered  except  sometimes 
a  severe  headache,  and  occasional  violent  cramps  and  twitchings  in  my 
limbs.' 

"  'Now,'  thought  I,  'is  the  time  to  commence  my  cure.' 

"I  made  a  wide  circumbendibus,  and  talked  in  an  erudite  style  con- 
cerning the  malady  of  'Fixed  Idea,'  which  attacks  people,  marring,  like 
one  single  discord,  the  otherwise  harmonious  organisms.  I  spoke  of  the 
scientific  man  who  could  not  be  induced  to  rise  from  his  chair  for  fear 
he  would  break  the  windows  across  the  street  with  his  nose.  I  mentioned 
the  Abbot  Molanus,  who  conversed  most  rationally  upon  every  subject, 
but  would  not  leave  his  room  because  he  thought  he  was  a  barleycorn, 
and  the  hens  would  swallow  him.  I  came  to  the  fact  that  to  confound 
oneself  with  some  historical  character  was  a  frequent  form  of  Fixed 
Idea.  'Nothing  more  absurd  and  preposterous,'  I  said,  'could  possibly 
be  imagined  than  that  a  little  bit  of  woodland  country  eight  miles  from 

B ,  daily  frequented  by  country  folk,  sportsmen,  and  people  walking 

for  exercise  was  the  Theban  desert,  and  he  himself  that  ascetic  who  suf- 
fered martyrdom  many  centuries  ago.* 

"Serapion  listened  in  silence.  He  seemed  to  feel  what  I  said,  and  to  be 
Struggling  with  himself  in  deep  reflection.  So  that  I  thought  it  was  time 
to  strike  my  decisive  blow.  I  stood  up,  took  him  by  both  hands,  and  cried, 
loudly  and  emphatically: 

"  'Count  P ,  awake  from  the  pernicious  dream  which  is  enthralling 

you;  throw  off  that  abominable  dress,  and  come  back  to  your  family, 


GERMANY— HOFFMANN  261 

which  mourns  your  loss,  and  to  the  world  where  you  have  such  im- 
portant duties  to  discharge.' 

"Serapion  gazed  at  me  with  a  somber,  penetrating  gaze.  Then  a 
sarcastic  smile  played  about  his  lips  and  cheeks,  and  he  said,  slowly 
and  solemnly: 

"  cYou  have  spoken,  sir,  long,  and,  as  you  consider,  wisely  and  well. 
Allow  mey  in  turn,  to  say  a  few  words  in  reply.  Saint  Anthony,  and  all 
the  men  of  the  Church  who  have  withdrawn  from  the  world  into  solitude, 
were  often  visited  by  vexing  spirits,  who,  envying  the  inward  peace  and 
contentment  of  their  souls,  carried  on  with  them  lengthy  contests,  until 
they  had  to  lie  down  conquered  in  the  dust.  And  such  is  my  fortune  also. 
Every  now  and  then  there  appear  to  me  emissaries,  sent  by  Satan,  who 

try  to  persuade  me  that  I  am  Count  P of  M— ,  and  that  I  ought 

to  betake  myself  to  the  life  of  Courts,  and  all  sorts  of  unholiness.  Were 
it  not  for  the  efficacy  of  prayer,  I  should  take  these  people  by  the  shoulders, 
turn  them  out  of  my  little  garden,  and  carefully  barricade  it  against  them. 
But  I  need  not  do  so  in  your  case;  for  you  are,  most  unmistakably,  the 
very  feeblest  of  all  the  adversaries  who  have  ever  come  to  me,  and  I 
can  vanquish  you  with  your  own  weapons — those  of  ratiocination.  It 
is  insanity  that  is  in  question  between  us.  But  if  one  of  us  two  is  suffering 
from  that  sad  malady,  it  is  evident  that  you  are  so  in  a  much  greater 
degree  than  J[.9 You  maintain  that  it  is  a  case  of  Fixed  Idea  that  I  be- 
lieve myself  to  be  Serapion  the  martyr — and  I  am  quite  aware  that 
many  persons  hold  the  same  opinion,  or  pretend  that  they  do.  Now,  if 
I  am  really  insane,  none  but  a  lunatic  can  think  that  he  could  argue  me 
out  of  the  Fixed  Idea  which  insanity  has  engendered  in  me.  Were  such 
a  proceeding  possible,  there  would  soon  be  no  madmen  on  the  face  of 
the  earth,  for  men  would  be  able  to  rule,  and  command,  their  mental 
power,  which  is  not  their  own,  but  merely  lent  to  them  for  a  time 
by  that  Higher  Power  which  disposes  of  them.  But  if  I  am  not  mad,  and 
if  I  am  really  Serapion  the  martyr,  it  is  insane  to  set  about  arguing  me 
out  of  that,  and  leading  me  to  adopt  the  Fixed  Idea  that  I  am  Count 
p Of  M  jYou  say  that  Serapion  the  martyr  lived  several  cen- 

turies ago,  and  that,  consequently,  I  cannot  be  that  martyr,  presumably 
for  the  reason  that  human  beings  cannot  remain  so  long  on  this  earth. 
Well,  as  regards  this,  the  notion  of  time  is  just  as  relative  a  notion  as 
that  of  number;  and  I  may  say  to  you  that,  according  to  the  notion  of 
time  which  I  have  in  me>  it  is  scarcely  three  hours  (or  whatever  appella- 
tion you  may  choose  to  give  to  the  divisions  of  time)  since  I  was  put 
to  martyrdom  by  the  Emperor  Decius.  But,  leaving  this  on  one  side,  can 
you  assert,  in  opposition  to  me,  that  a  life  of  such  length  as  I  say  I  have 
lived,  is  unexampled  and  contrary  to  human  nature  ?  Have  you  cognizance 
of  the  precise  length  of  the  life  of  every  human  being  who  has  existed 
in  all  this  wide  world,  that  you  can  employ  the  expression  'unexampled* 


26*  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OP  THE  WORLD 

in  this  pert  and  decisive  manner?  Do  you  compare  God's  omnipotence 
to  the  wretched  art  of  the  clockmaker,  who  can't  save  his  lifeless  ma- 
chinery from  destruction?  You  say  this  place  where  we  are  is  not  the 

Theban  desert,  but  a  little  woodland  district  eight  miles  from  B , 

daily  frequented  by  country  folk,  sportsmen  and  others.  Prove  that  to 
me.' 

"Here  I  thought  I  had  rtiy  man. 

"  'Come  with  me,'  said  I,  'and  in  a  couple  of  hours  we  shall  be  in 
B ,  and  what  I  assert  will  be  proved.' 

"  'Poor  blinded  fool,'  said  Serapion.  What  a  wide  distance  lies  between 

us  and  B !  But  put  the  case  that  I  went  with  you  to  some  town 

which  you  call  B ;  would  you  be  able  to  convince  me  that  we  had 

been  traveling  for  two  hours  only,  and  the  place  we  had  arrived  at  was 

really  B ?  If  I  were  to  assert  that  you  were  insane,  and  suppose 

the  Theban  desert  is  a  little  bit  of  wooded  country,  and  far-away  Alex- 
andria the  town  of  B in  the  south  of  Germany,  what  would  you 

say  in  reply?  Our  old  discussion  would  go  on  forever.  Then  there  is 
another  point  which  you  ought  seriously  to  consider.  You  must,  I  should 
suppose,  perceive  that  I,  who  am  talking  with  you,  am  leading  the  peace- 
ful and  happy  life  of  a  man  reconciled  with  God.  It  is  only  after  having 
passed  through  martyrdom  that  such  a  life  dawns  upon  the  soul.  And 
if  it  has  pleased  the  Almighty  to  cast  a  veil  over  what  fyappened  before 
my  martyrdom,  is  it  not  a  terrible  and  diabolical  action  to  try  to  tear  that 
veil  away?' 

"With  all  my  wisdom,  I  stood  confounded  and  silenced  in  the  pres- 
ence of  this  insane  man!  With  the  very  rationality  of  his  irrationality 
he  had  beaten  me  completely  out  of  the  field,  and  I  saw  the  folly  of 
my  undertaking  in  all  its  fulness.  Still  more  than  that,  I  felt  the  reproach 
contained  in  what  he  had  last  said  as  deeply  as  I  was  astounded  at  the 
dim  remembrance  of  his  previous  life  which  shone  through  it  like  some 
lofty,  invulnerable  higher  spirit. 

"Serapion  seemed  to  be  reading  my  thoughts,  and,  looking  me  full 
in  the  face  with  an  expression  of  the  greatest  kindliness,  he  said: 

"  *I  never  took  you  for  an  evil-disposed  adversary,  and  I  see  I  was 
not  mistaken,  You  may  have  been  instigated  by  somebody — perhaps  by 
the  Evil  One  himself — to  come  here  to  vex  and  try  me,  but  I  am  sure 
it  was  not  a  spontaneous  act  of  yours.  And  perhaps  the  fact  that  you  found 
me  other  than  you  expected,  may  have  strengthened  you  in  your  ex- 
pression of  the  doubts  which  you  have  suggested.  Although  I  in  no 
sense  deviate  from  the  devoutness  beseeming  him  who  has  given  up  his 
life  to  God  and  the  Church,  that  cynicism  of  asceticism  into  which  many 
of  my  brethren  have  fallen — thereby  giving  proof  of  the  weakness,  nay, 
utter  destruction  of  their  mental  vigor,  instead  of  its  boasted  strength — 
is  utterly  foreign  to  me!  You  expected  to  find  the  Monk  Serapion  pale 


GERMANY— HOFFMANN  263 

and  haggard,  wasted  with  fast  and  vigil,  ail  the  horror  of  visions,  ter- 
rible as  those  which  drove  even  St.  Anthony  to  despair,  in  his  somber  face, 
with  quivering  knees  scarce  able  to  support  him,  in  a  filthy  robe,  stained 
with  his  blood.  You  find  a  placid,  cheerful  man.  But  I,  too,  have  passed 
through  those  tortures,  and  have  overcome  them  and  survived.  And  when 
I  awoke  with  shattered  limbs  and  fractured  skull,  the  spirit  dawned,  and 
shone  bright  within  me,  restoring  my  mind  and  my  body  to  health.  May 
it  please  Heaven  speedily  to  grant  to  you  also,  my  brother,  even  here  on 
earth,  a  peace  and  happiness  such  as  those  which  daily  refresh  and 
strengthen  me.  Have  no  dread  of  the  terror  of  the  deepest  solitude.  It 
is  only  there  that  a  life  like  this  can  dawn  upon  the  pious  soul.' 

"Serapion,  who  had  spoken  with  genuine  priestly  unction,  raised,  in 
silence,  his  eyes  to  Heaven  with  an  expression  of  blissful  gratitude.  How 
could  I  feel  otherwise  than  awe-struck!  A  madman,  congratulating  him- 
self on  his  condition,  looking  upon  it  as  a  priceless  gift  from  Heaven, 
and,  from  the  depths  of  his  heart,  wishing  me  a  similar  fate! 

"I  was  on  the  point  of  leaving  him,  but  he  began  in  an  altered  tone, 
saying: 

"  cYou  would,  probably,  scarcely  suppose  that  this  wild  inhospitable 
desert  is  often  almost  too  full  of  the  noise  and  bustle  of  life  to  be 
suitable  for  my  silent  meditations.  Every  day  I  receive  visits  from  the 
most  remartahfo  people  of  the  most  diverse  kinds.  Ariosto  was  here  yes- 
terday, and  Dante  and  Petrarch  afterwards.  And  this  evening  I  expect 
Evagrus,  the  celebrated  father,  with  whom  I  shall  discuss  the  most  recent 
ecclesiastical  affairs,  as  I  did  poetry  yesterday.  I  often  go  up  to  the  top 
of  that  hill  there,  whence  the  towers  of  Alexandria  are  to  be  seen  dis- 
tinctly in  clear  weather,  and  the  most  wonderful  and  interesting  events 
happen  before  my  eyes.  Many  people  have  thought  that  incredible,  too, 
and  considered  that  I  only  fancy  I  see  before  me,  in  actual  life,  what  is 
merely  born  in  my  mind  and  imagination.  Now  /  say  that  is  the  most 
incomprehensible  piece  of  folly  that  can  exist.  What  is  it,  except  the  mind, 
which  takes  cognizance  of  what  happens  around  us  in  time  and  space? 
What  is  it  that  hears,  and  feels,  and  sees?  Is  it  the  lifeless  mechanism 
which  we  call  eyes,  ears,  hands,  etc.,  and  not  the  mind?  Does  the  mind 
give  form  and  shape  to  that  peculiar  world  of  its  own  which  has  space 
and  time  for  its  conditions  of  existence,  and  then  hand  over  the  functions 
of  seeing,  hearing,  etc.,  to  some  other  principle  inherent  in  us?  How  il- 
logical! Therefore,  if  it  is  the  mind  only  which  takes  cognizance  of 
events  around  us,  it  follows  that  that  which  it  has  taken  cognizance  of 
has  actually  occurred.  Last  evening  only,  Ariosto  was  speaking  of  the 
images  of  his  fancy,  and  saying  he  had  created  in  his  brain  forms  and 
events  which  had  never  existed  in  time  and  space.  I  at  once  denied  the 
possibility  of  this,  and  he  was  obliged  to  allow  that  it  was  only  from  lack 
of  a  higher  knowledge  that  a  poet  would  box  up  within  the  narrow 


264  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

limits  of  his  brain  that  which,  by  virtue  of  his  peculiar  seer  gift,  he  was 
enabled  to  see  in  full  life  before  him.  But  the  complete  acquirement  of 
this  higher  knowledge  only  comes  after  martyrdom,  and  is  strengthened 
by  the  life  in  profound  solitude.  You  don't  appear  to  agree  with  me; 
probably  you  don't  understand  me  here.  Indeed  how  could  a  child  of 
this  world,  however  well  disposed,  understand  an  anchorite  consecrated 
in  all  his  works  and  ways  to  God.  Let  me  tell  you  what  happened  be- 
fore my  eyes,  as  I  was  standing  this  morning  at  sunrise  at  the  top  of 
that  hill.' 

"He  then  related  a  regular  romance,  with  a  plot  and  incidents  such 
as  only  the  most  imaginative  poet  could  have  constructed.  The  characters 
and  events  stood  out  with  such  a  vivid,  plastic  relief,  that  it  was  impos- 
sible— carried  away  as  one  was  by  the  magic  spell  of  them — to  help 
believing,  as  if  in  a  species  of  dream,  that  Serapion  had  actually  wit- 
nessed them  from  the  hilltop.  This  romance  was  succeeded  by  another, 
and  that  by  another,  by  which  time  the  sun  stood  high  above  us  in  the 
noontide  sky.  Serapion  then  rose  from  his  seat,  and  looking  into  the  dis- 
tance, said:  *  Yonder  comes  my  brother  Hilarion,  who,  in  his  overstrict- 
ness,  always  blames  me  for  being  too  much  given  to  the  society  of 
strangers.* 

"I  understood  the  hint,  and  took  my  leave,  asking  if  I  should  be  al- 
lowed to  pay  him  another  visit.  Serapion  answered  with  a  gentle  smile, 
'My  friend,  I  thought  you  would  be  eager  to  get  away  from  this  wilder- 
ness, so  little  adapted  to  your  mode  of  life.  But  if  it  is  your  pleasure 
to  take  up  your  abode  for  a  time  in  my  neighborhood,  you  will  always 
be  welcome  to  my  cottage  and  my  little  garden.  Perhaps  it  may  be 
granted  to  me  to  convert  him  who  came  to  me  as  an  adversary.  Farewell, 
my  friend.' 

"I  am  wholly  unable  to  characterize  the  impression  which  my  visit  to 
him  had  made  upon  me.  Whilst  his  condition,  his  methodical  madness  in 
which  he  found  the  joy  of  his  life,  produced  the  weirdest  effect  upon  me, 
his  extraordinary  poetical  genius  filled  me  with  amazement,  and  his 
kindly,  peaceful  happiness,  instinct  with  the  quietest  resignation  of  the 
purest  mind,  touched  me  unspeakably.  I  thought  of  Ophelia's  sorrow- 
ful words: 

"  *O  what  a  noble  mind  is  here  o'erthrown !  etc.' 

V. 

Yet  I  could  not  make  plaint  against  the  Omnipotence,  which  probably 
had,  in  this  mysterious  fashion,  steered  his  bark  away  from  reefs,  which 
might  have  wrecked  it,  into  this  secure  haven. 

"The  oftener  I  went  to  see  him,  the  more  attached  to  him  I  became. 
I  always  found  him  happy,  and  disposed  to  converse,  and  I  took  great 
care  never  again  to  essay  my  role  of  the  psychological  doctor.  It  was 


GERMANY— HOFFMANN  265 

wonderful  with  what  acuteness  and  penetration  he  spoke  of  life  in  all 
its  aspects,  and  most  remarkable  of  all,  how  he  deduced  historical  events 
from  causes  wholly  remote  from  all  ordinary  theories  on  the  subject. 
When  sometimes — notwithstanding  the  striking  acuteness  of  those  divina- 
tions of  his— I  took  it  upon  me  to  object  that  no  work  on  history  made 
any  mention  of  the  circumstances  which  he  alluded  to,  he  would  answer, 
with  his  quiet  smile,  that  probably  no  historian  in  the  world  knew  as 
much  about  them  as  he  did,  seeing  that  he  had  them  from  the  very  lips 
of  the  people  concerned,  when  they  came  to  see  him. 

"I  was  obliged  to  leave  B and  it  was  three  years  before  I  could 

go  back  there.  It  was  late  in  Autumn,  about  the  middle  of  November 
— the  1 4th,  if  I  do  not  mistake — when  I  set  out  to  pay  my  anchorite  a 
visit.  Whilst  I  was  still  at  a  distance,  I  heard  the  sound  of  the  little  bell 
which  hung  above  his  hut,  and  was  filled  with  gloomy  forebodings, 
without  apparent  cause.  At  last  I  reached  the  cottage  and  went  in. 

"Serapion  was  lying  on  his  mat,  with  his  hands  folded  on  his  breast. 
I  thought  he  was  sleeping,  and  went  softly  up  to  him.  Then  I  saw  that 
he  was  dead." 


,  ,    GOTTFRIED  KELLER 

(1819-1890) 

KELLER,  one  of  the  most  distinguished  writers  of  Switzerland, 
is  claimed  by  the  Germans  becauie  he  wrote  in  their  language. 
The  son  of  a  Swiss  mechanic,  he  spent  a  dreamy  and  aimless  youth. 
He  lived  a  great  part  of  his  life  in  Ziirich.  It  was  not  until 
after  his  death  that  he  was  recognized  as  one  of  the  masters  of  Ger- 
man literature.  Professor  Thomas  declares  that  his  "books  are  on 
the  whole  the  very  best  reading  to  be  found  in  the  whole  range 
of  Nineteenth  Century  German  fiction."  He  wrote  almost  entirely 
of  his  beloved  Switzerland.  His  Seven  Legends  (1872),  in  which 
A  Legend  of  the  Dance  first  appeared,  is  one  of  his  most  beau- 
tiful books. 

The  present  version,  translated  by  Martin  Wyness,  is  reprinted, 
by  permission  of  the  publishers,  from  Seven  Legends^  Gowans  & 
Gray,  Glasgow,  1911. 


A  LEGEND  OF.  THE  DANCE 

A  CCORDING  to  Saint  Gregory,  Musa  was  the  dancer  aiming  the 
<L&.  saints.  The  child  of  good  people,  she  was  a  bright  young  lady,  a 
diligent  servant  of  the  Mother  of  God,  and  subject  only  to  one  weakness, 


266  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

such  an  uncontrollable  passion  for  the  dance  that  when  the  child  was 
not  praying  she  was  dancing,  and  that  on  all  imaginable  occasions.  Musa 
danced  with  her  playmates,  with  children,  with  the  young  men,  and  even 
by  herself.  She  danced  in  her  own  room  and  every  other  room  in  the 
house,  in  the  garden,  in  the  meadows.  Even  when  she  went  to  the  altar 
it  was  to  a  gracious  measure  rather  than  a  walk,  and  even  on  the  smooth 
marble  flags  before  the  church  door,  she  did  not  scruple  to  practice  a 
few  hasty  steps. 

In  fact,  one  day  when  she  found  herself  alone  in  the  church,  she 
could  not  refrain  from  executing  some  figures  before  the  altar,  arid, 
so  to  speak,  dancing  a  pretty  prayer  to  the  Virgin  Mary.  She  became 
so  oblivious  of  all  else  that  she  fancied  she  was  merely  dreaming  when 
she  saw  an  oldish  but  handsome  gentleman  dancing  opposite  her  and 
supplementing  her  figures  so  skilfully  that  the  pair  got  into  the  most 
elaborate  dance  imaginable.  The  gentleman  had  a  royal  purple  robe, 
a  golden  crown  on  his  head,  and  a  glossy  black  curled  beard,  which  age 
had  touched  as  with  streaks  of  starlight.  At  the  same  time  music  sounded 
from  the  choir  where  half  a  dozen  small  angels  stood,  or  sat  with  their 
chubby  little  legs  hanging  over  the  screen,  and  fingered  or  blew  their 
various  instruments.  The  urchins  were  very  pleasant  and  skilful.  Each 
rested  his  music  on  one  of  the  stone  angels  with  which  the  choir  screen 
was  adorned,  except  the  smallest,  a  puffy-cheeked  pipen.who  sat  cross- 
legged  and  contrived  to  hold  his  music  with  his  pink  toes.  He  *  was  the 
most  diligent  of  them  all.  The  others  dangled  their  feet,  kept  spreading 
their  pinions,  one  or  other  of  them,  with  a  rustle,  so  that  their  colors 
shimmered  like  doves'  breasts,  and  they  teased  each  other  as  they  played. 

Musa  found  no  time  to  wonder  at  all  this  until  the  dance,  which  lasted 
a  pretty  long  time,  was  over;  for  the  merry  gentleman  seemed  to  enjoy 
himself  as  much  as  the  maid,  who  felt  as  if  she  were  dancing  about  in 
heaven.  But  when  the  music  ceased  and  Musa  stood  there  panting,  she 
began  to  be  frightened  in  good  earnest,  and  looked  in  astonishment  at 
the  ancient,  who  was  neither  out  of  breath  nor  warm,  and  who  now 
began  to  speak.  He  introduced  himself  as  David,  the  Virgin  Mary's  royal 
ancestor,  and  her  ambassador.  He  asked  if  she  would  like  to  pass  eternal 
l»liss  in  an  unending  pleasure  dance,  compared  with  which  the  dance  they 
had  just  finished  could  only  be  called  a  miserable  crawl. 

To  this  she  promptly  answered  that  she  would  like  nothing  better. 
Whereupon  the  blessed  King  David  said  again  that  in  that  case  she 
had  nothing  more  to  do  than  to  renounce  all  pleasure  and  all  dancing 
for  the  rest  of  her  days  on  earth  and  devote  herself  wholly  to  penance 
and  spiritual  exercises,  and  that  without  hesitation  or  relapse.  The  maiden 
was  taken  aback  at  these  conditions,  and  asked  whether  she  must  really 
give  up  dancing  altogether.  She  questioned  indeed  whether  there  was  any 
dancing  in  Heaven;  for  there  was  a  time  for  everything.  This  earth 


GERMANY— KELLER  267 

looked  very  fit  and  proper  for  dancing;  it  stood  to  reason  that  Heaven 
must  have  very  different  attractions,  else  death  were  a  superfluity. 

But  David  explained  to  her  that  her  notions  on  the  subject  were  er- 
roneous, and  proved  from  many  Bible  texts,  and  from  his  own  example 
that  dancing  was  assuredly  a  sanctified  occupation  for  the  blessed.  But 
what  was  wanted  just  now  was  an  immediate  decision,  Yes  or  No, 
whether  she  wished  to  enter  into  eternal  joy  by  way  of  temporal  self- 
denial,  or  not.  If  she  did  not,  then  he  would  go  farther  on;  for  they 
wanted  some  dancers  in  Heaven. 

Musa  stood,  still  doubtful  and  undecided,  and  fumbled  anxiously 
with  her  finger-tips  in  her  mouth.  It  seemed  too  hard  never  to  dance 
again  from  that  moment,  all  for  the  sake  of  an  unknown  reward.  At 
that,  David  gave  a  signal,  and  suddenly  the  musicians  struck  up  some 
bars  of  a  dance  of  such  unheard-of  bliss  and  unearthliness  that  the  girl's 
soul  leaped  in  her  body,  and  her  limbs  twitched;  but  she  could  not  get 
one  of  them  to  dance,  and  she  noticed  that  her  body  was  far  too  heavy 
and  stiff  for  the  tune.  Full  of  longing,  she  thrust  Aer  hand  into  the 
King's  and  made  the  promise  which  he  demanded. 

Forthwith  he  was  no  more  to  be  seen,  and  the  angel-musicians  whirred 
and  fluttered  and  crowded  out  and  away  through  an  open  window.  But, 
in  mischievous  childish  fashion,  before  going  they  dealt  the  patient  stone 
angels  a  soundipg  slap  on  the  cheeks  with  their  rolled-up  music. 

Musa  went  home  with  devout  step,  carrying  that  celestial  melody  in 
her  ears;  and  having  laid  all  her  dainty  raiment  aside,  she  got  a  coarse 
gown  made  and  put  it  on.  At  the  same  time  she  built  herself  a  cell  at 
the  end  of  her  parents'  garden,  where  the  deep  shade  of  the  trees  lingered, 
made  a  scant  bed  of  moss  and  from  that  day  onward  separated  herself 
from  all  her  kindred,  and  took  up  her  abode  there  as  a  penitent  and  saint. 
She  spent  all  her  time  in  prayer,  and  often  disciplined  herself  with  a 
scourge.  But  her  severest  penance  consisted  in  holding  her  limbs  stiff  and 
immovable,  for  whenever  she  heard  a  sound,  the  twitter  of  a  bird  or  the 
rustling  of  the  leaves  Jn  the  wind,  her  feet  twitched  as  much  as  to  tell 
her  they  must  dance. 

As  this  involuntary  twitching  would  not  forsake  her,  and  often  seduced 
her  to  a  little  skip  before  she  was  aware,  she  caused  her  tender  feet  to 
be  fastened  together  by  a  light  chain.  Her  relatives  and  friends  marveled 
day  and  night  at  the  transformation,  rejoiced  to  possess  such  a  saint, 
and  guarded  the  hermitage  under  the  trees  as  the  apple  of  their  eye. 
Many  came  for  her  counsel  and  intercession.  In  particular,  they  used  to 
bring  young  girls  to  her  who  were  rather  clumsy  on  their  feet,  for  'it 
was  observed  that  everyone  whom  she  touched  at  once  became  light 
and  graceful  in  gait. 

So  she  spent  three  years  in  her  cell,  but  by  the  end  of  the  third  year 
Musa  had  become  almost  as  thin  and  transparent  as  a  summer  cloud. 


268  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

She  lay  continually  on  her  bed  of  moss,  gazed  wistfully  into  Heaven,  and 
was  convinced  that  she  could  already  see  the  golden  sandals  of  the  blessed, 
dancing  and  gliding  about  through  the  azure. 

At  last  one  harsh  autumn  day  the  tidings  spread  that  the  saint  lay  on 
her  death-bed.  She  had  taken  off  her  dark  penitential  robe,  and  caused 
herself  to  be  arrayed  in  bridal  garments  of  dazzling  white.  So  she  lay 
with  folded  hands  and  smilingly  awaited  the  hour  of  death.  The  garden 
was  all  filled  with  devout  persons,  the  breezes  murmured,  and  the  leaves 
were  falling  from  the  trees  on  all  sides.  But  suddenly  the  sighing  of  the 
wind  changed  into  music,  which  appeared  to  be  playing  in  the  tree-tops, 
and  as  the  people  looked  up,  lo,  all  the  branches  were  clad  in  fresh  green, 
the  myrtles  and  pomegranates  put  out  blossom  and  fragrance,  the  earth 
decked  itself  with  flowers,  and  a  rosy  glow  settled  upon  the  white,  frail 
form  of  the  dying  saint. 

That  same  instant  she  yielded  up  her  spirit.  The  train  about  her  feet 
sprang  asunder  with  a  sharp  twang,  Heaven  opened  wide  all  around,  full 
of  unbounded  radiance  so  that  all  could  see  in.  Then  they  saw  many 
thousands  of  beautiful  young  men  and  maidens  in  the  utmost  splendor, 
dancing  circle  upon  circle  farther  than  the  eye  could  reach.  A  magnifi- 
cent King  enthroned  on  a  cloud,  with  a  special  band  of  small  angels 
seated  on  its  edge,  bore  down  a  little  way  towards  earth,  and  received 
the  form  of  the  sainted  Musa  from  before  the  eyes  of  all  the  beholders 
who  filled  the  garden.  They  saw,  too,  how  she  sprang  into  the  open 
Heaven  and  immediately  danced  out  of  sight  among  the  jubilant  radiant 
circle. 

That  was  a  high  feast-day  in  Heaven.  Now  the  custom  (to  be  sure,  it 
is  denied  by  Saint  Gregory  of  Nyssa,  but  stoutly  maintained  by  his  name- 
sake of  Nazianza)  on  feast-days  was  to  invite  the  nine  Muses,  who  sat 
for  the  rest  of  their  time  in  Hell  and  to  admit  them  to  Heaven  that 
they  might  be  of  assistance.  They  were  well  entertained,  but  once  the 
feast  was  over  had  to  go  back  to  the  other  place. 

When,  now,  the  dances  and  songs  and  all  the  ceremonies  had  come  to 
an  end  and  the  heavenly  company  sat  down,  Musa  was  taken  to  a  table 
where  the  nine  Muses  were  being  served.  They  sat  huddled  together  half 
scared,  glancing  about  with  their  fiery  black  or  dark-blue  eyes.  The  busy 
Martha  of  the  Gospels  was  caring  for  them  in  person.  She  had  on  her 
finest  kitchen-apron  and  a  tiny  little  smudge  on  her  white  chin  and  was 
pressing  all  manner  of  good  things  on  the  Muses  in  the  friendliest  pos- 
sible way,  but  when  Musa  and  Saint  Cecilia  and  some  other  artistic  women 
arrived  and  greeted  the  shy  Pierians  cheerfully,  and  joined  their  com- 
pany, they  began  to  thaw,  grew  confidential,  and  the  feminine  circle  be- 
came quite  pleasant  and  happy.  Musa  sat  beside  Terpsichore,  and  Cecilia 
between  Polyhymnia  and  Euterpe,  and  all  took  one  another's  hands. 
Next  came  the  little  minstrel  urchins  and  made  up  to  the  beautiful  women 


GERMANY— KELLER  269 

with  an  eye  to  the  bright  fruit  which  shone  on  the  ambrosial  table.  King 
David  himself  came  and  brought  a  golden  cup,  out  of  which  all  drank, 
so  that  gracious  joy  warmed  them.  He  went  round  the  table,  not  omitting 
as  he  passed  to  chuck  pretty  Erato  under  the  chin.  While  things  were 
going  on  so  favorably  at  the  Muses'  table,  Our  Gracious  Lady  herself 
appeared  in  all  her  beauty  and  goodness,  sat  down  a  few  minutes  beside 
the  Muses,  and  kissed  the  august  Urania  with  the  starry  coronet  tenderly 
upon  the  lips,  when  she  took  her  departure,  whispering  to  her  that  she 
would  not  rest  until  the  Muses  could  remain  in  Paradise  forever. 

But  that  never  came  about.  To  declare  their  gratitude  for  the  kindness 
and  friendliness  which  had  been  shown  them,  and  to  prove  their  good- 
will, the  Muses  took  counsel  together  and  practised  a  hymn  of  praise 
in  a  retired  corner  'of  the  Underworld.  They  tried  to  give  it  the  form  of 
the  solemn  chorals  which  were  the  fashion  in  Heaven.  They  arranged  it 
in  two  parts  of  four  voices  each,  with  a  sort  of  principal  part,  which 
Urania  took,  and  they  thus  produced  a  remarkable  piece  of  vocal  music. 

The  next  time  a  feast-day  was  celebrated  in  Heaven,  and  the  Muses 
again  rendered  their  assistance,  they  seized  what  appeared  to  be  a  favor- 
able moment  for  their  purpose,  took  their  places,  and  began  their  song. 
It  began  softly,  but  soon  swelled  out  mightily,  but  in  those  regions  it 
sounded  so  dismal,  almost  defiant  and  harsh,  yet  so  wistful  and  mourn- 
ful that  first  oTf  all  a  horrified  silence  prevailed,  and  next  the  whole 
assembly  was  seized  with  a  sad  longing  for  earth  and  home,  and  broke 
into  universal  weeping. 

A  sigh  without  end  throbbed  throughout  Heaven.  All  the  Elders  and 
Prophets  started  up  in  dismay  while  the  Muses,  with  the  best  of  inten- 
tions, sang  louder  and  more  mournfully,  and  all  Paradise,  with  the 
Patriarchs  and  Elders  and  Prophets  and  all  who  ever  walked  or  lay  in 
green  pastures,  lost  all  command  of  themselves.  Until  at  last,  the  High 
and  Mighty  Trinity  Himself  came  to  put  things  right,  and  reduced  the 
too  zealous  Muses  to  silence  with  a  long  reverberating  peal  of  thunder. 

Then  quiet  and  composure  were  restored  to  Heaven,  but  the  poor 
nine  Sisters  had  to  depart  and  never  dared  enter  it  again  from  that  day 
onward. 


PAUL  HEYSE 
(1830—) 

HEYSE  is  one  of  the  most  distinguished  and  highly  respected  Ger- 
man writers  of  the  past  century.  Poet,  novelist,  dramatist,  critic,  he 
"created  a  new  standard  of  style  and  artistic  finish  for  the  nov- 
elette." The  Fury  appeared  in  Heyse's  first  collection  of  stories, 


870  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

which  was  published  in  185$.  It  is  generally  regarded  as  one  of 
the  very  best  stories  in  the  German  language. 

Reprinted  from  the  volume  Tales  from  the  German  of  Paul 
Heyse,  New  York,  1878,  D*  Appleton  &  Co.,  publishers,  by  whose 
permission  it  is  here  used.  The  original  title  is  L'Arrabbiata. 


THE  FURY 

day  had  scarcely  dawned.  Over  Vesuvius  hung  one  broad  gray 
JL  stripe  of  mist,  stretching  across  as  far  as  Naples,  and  darkening 
all  the  small  towns  along  the  coast.  The  sea  lay  calm.  Along  the  shore 
of  the  narrow  creek  that  lies  beneath  the  Sorrento  cliffs,  fishermen  and 
their  wives  were  at  work  already,  some  with  giant  cables  drawing  their 
boats  to  land,  with  the  nets  that  had  been  cast  the  night  before,  while 
others  were  rigging  their  craft,  trimming  the  sails,  or  fetching  out  oars 
and  masts  from  the  great  grated  vaults  that  have  been  built  deep  into 
the  rocks  for  shelter  to  the  tackle  overnight.  Nowhere  an  idle  hand;  even 
the  very  aged,  who  had  long  given  up  going  to  sea,  fell  into  the  long  chain 
of  those  who  were  hauling  in  the  nets.  Here  and  there,  on  some  flat 
housetop,  an  old  woman  stood  and  spun,  or  busied  herself  about  her  grand- 
children, whom  their  mother  had  left  to  help  her  husband. 

"Do  you  see,  Rachela?  yonder  is  our  padre  curato,"  said  one  to  a  little 
thing  of  ten,  who  brandished  a  small  spindle  by  her  side;  "Antonio  is  to 
row  him  over  to  Capri.  Madre  Santissima!  but  the  reverend  signore's 
eyes  are  dull  with  sleep!"  and  she  waved  her  hand  to  a  benevolent-look- 
ing little  priest,  who  was  settling  himself  in  the  boat,  and  spreading  out 
upon  the  bench  his  carefully  tucked-up  skirts. 

The  men  upon  the  quay  had  dropped  their  work  to  see  their  pastor 
off,  who  bowed  and  nodded  kindly,  right  and  left. 

"What  for  must  he  go  to  Capri,  granny?"  asked  the  child.  "Have 
the  people  there  no  priest  of  their  own,  that  they  must  borrow  ours?" 

"Silly  thing!"  returned  the  granny.  "Priests  they  have  in  plenty — 
and  the  most  beautiful  of  churches,  and  a  hermit  too,  which  is  more  than 
we  have.  But  there  lives  a  great  signora,  who  once  lived  here;  she  was 
so  very  ill!  Many's  the  time  our  padre  had  to  go  and  take  the  Most  Holy 
to  her,  when  chey  thought  she  could  not  live  the  night.  But  with  the 
Blessed  Virgin's  help  she  got  strong  and  well,  and  was  able  to  bathe  every 
day  in  the  sea.  When  she  went  away,  she  left  a  fine  heap  of  ducats  be- 
hind her  for  our  church,  and  for  the  poor;  and  she  would  not  go,  they 
say,  until  our  padre  promised  to  go  and  see  her  over  there,  that  she  might 
confess  to  him  tis  before.  It  is  quite  wonderful,  the  store  she  lays  by 
him!  Indeed,  and  we  have  cause  to  bless  ourselves  for  having  a  curato  who 
has  gifts  enough  for  an  archbishop,  and  is  in  such  request  with  all  the 


GERMANY— HEYSE  271 

great  folks.  The  Madonna  be  with  him!"  she  cried,  and  waved  her 
hand  again,  as  the  boat  was  about  to  put  from  shore. 

"Are  we  to  have  fair  weather,  my  son?"  inquired  the  little  priest,  with 
an  anxious  look  toward  Naples. 

"The  sun  is  not  yet  up,"  the  young  man  answered;  "when  he  comes, 
he  will  easily  do  for  that  small  trifle  of  mist." 

"Off  with  you,  then!  that  we  may  arrive  before  the  heat." 

Antonio  was  just  reaching  for  his  long  oar  to  shove  away  the  boat, 
when  suddenly  he  paused,  and  fixed  his  eyes  upon  the  summit  of  the 
steep  path  that  leads  down  from  Sorrento  to  the  water.  A  tall  and  slender 
girlish  figure  had  become  visible  upon  the  heights,  and  was  now  hastily 
stepping  down  the  stones,  waving  her  handkerchief.  She  had  a  small 
bundle  under  her  arm,  and  her  dress  was  mean  and  poor.  Yet  she  had 
a  distinguished  if  somewhat  savage  way  of  throwing  back  her  head, 
and  the  dark  tress  wreathed  around  it  was  like  a  diadem. 

"What  have  we  to  wait  for?"  inquired  the  curato. 

"There  is  someone  coming  who  wants  to  go  to  Capri — with  your  per- 
mission, padre.  We  shall  not  go  a  whit  the  slower.  It  is  a  slight  youhg 
thing,  but  just  eighteen." 

At  that  moment  the  young  girl  appeared  from  behind  the  wall  that 
bounds  the  winding  path. 

"Laurella!",  cried  the  priest.  "And  what  has  she  to  do  in  Capri?" 

Antonio  Shrugged  his  shoulders.  She  came  up  with  hasty  steps,  her 
eyes  fixed  straight  before  her. 

"Ha!  FArrabiata!  good-morning!"  shouted  one  or  two  of  the  young 
boatmen.  But  for  the  curato's  presence,  they  might  have  added  more; 
the  look  of  mute  defiance  with  which  the  young  girl  received  their  wel- 
come appeared  to  tempt  the  more  mischievous  among  them. 

"Good-day,  Laurella!"  now  said  the  priest.  "How  are  you?  Are  you 
coming  with  us  to  Capri?" 

"If  I  may,  padre." 

"Ask  Antonio  there;  the  boat  is  his.  Every  man  is  master  of  his  own, 
I  say,  as  God  is  master  of  us  all." 

"There  is  half  a  carlino,  if  I  may  go  for  that?"  said  Laurella,  with- 
out looking  at  the  young  boatman. 

"You  need  it  more  than  I,"  he  muttered,  and  pushed  aside  some 
orange-baskets  to  make  room:  he  was  to  sell  the  oranges  in  Capri,  which 
little  isle  of  rocks  has  never  been  able  to  grow  enough  for  all  its  visitors. 

"I  do  not  choose  to  go  for  nothing,"  said  the  girl,  with  a  slight  frown 
of  her  dark  eyebrows. 

"Come,  child,"  said  the  priest;  "he  is  a  good  lad,  and  had  rather 
not  enrich  himself  with  that  little  morsel  of  your  poverty.  Come  now, 
and  step  in,"  and  he  stretched  out  his  hand  to  help  her,  "and  sit  you 
down  by  me.  See,  now,  he  has  spread  his  jacket  for  you,  that  you  may 


272  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

sit  the  softer.  Young  folks  are  all  alike;  for  one  little  maiden  of  eighteen 
they  will  do  more  thian  for  ten  of  us  reverend  fathers.  Nay,  no  excuse, 
Tonino.  It  is  the  Lord's  own  doing,  that  like  and  like  should  hold  to- 
gether." 

Meantime  Laurella  had  stepped  in,  and  seated  herself  beside  the  padre, 
first  putting  away  Antonio's  jacket  without  a  word.  The  young  fellow 
let  it  lie,  and,  muttering  between  his  teeth,  he  gave  one  vigorous  push 
against  the  pier,  and  the  little  boat  flew  out  into  the  open  bay. 

"What  are  you  carrying  there  in  that  little  bundle?"  inquired  the 
padre,  as  they  were  floating  on  over  a  calm  sea,  now  just  beginning  to 
be  lighted  up  with  the  earliest  rays  of  the  rising  sun. 

"Silk,  thread,  and  a  loaf,  padre.  The  silk  is  to  be  sold  at  Anacapri,  to 
a  woman  who  makes  ribbons,  and  the  thread  to  another." 

"Spun  by  yourself?" 

"Yes,  sir." 

''You  once  learned  to  weave  ribbons  yourself,  if  I  remember  right?" 

"I  did,  sir;  but  mother  has  been  much  worse,  and  I  cannot  stay  so 
long  from  home;  and  a  loom  to  ourselves  we  are  not  rich  enough  to 
buy." 

"Worse,  is  she?  Ah!  dear,  dear!  when  I  was  with  you  last,  at  Easter, 
she  was  up." 

"The  spring  is  .always  her  worst  time.  Ever  since  tfrose  last  great 
storms,  and  the  earthquakes  she  has  been  forced  to  keep  her  bed  from 
pain." 

"Pray,  my  child.  Never  slacken  your  prayers  and  petitions  that  the 
Blessed  Virgin  may  intercede  for  you;  and  be  industrious  and  good,  that 
your  prayers  may  find  a  hearing." 

After  a  pause:  "When  you  were  coming  toward  the  shore,  I  heard 
them  calling  after  you.  'Good-morning,  PArrabiata!'  they  said.  What 
made  them  call  you  so?  It  is  not  a  nice  name  for  a  young  Christian 
maiden,  who  should  be  meek  and  mild." 

The  young  girl's  brown  face  glowed  all  over,  while  her  eyes  flashed 
fire. 

"They  always  mock  me  so,  because  I  do  not  dance  and  sing,  and  stand 
about  to  chatter,  as  other  girls  do.  I  might  be  left  in  peace,  I  think; 
I  do  them  no  harm." 

"Nay,  but  you  might  be  civil.  Let  others  dance  and  sing,  on  whom  this 
life  sits  lighter;  but  a  kind  word  now  and  then  is  seemly  even  from  the 
most  afflicted.".  .. 

Her  dark  eyes  fell,  and  she  drew  her  eyebrows  closer  over  them,  as  if 
she  would  have  hidden  them. 

They  went  on  a  while  in  silence.  The  sun  now  stood  resplendent  above 
the  mountain  chain;  only  the  tip  of  Mount  Vesuvius  towered  beyond  the 
group  of  clouds  that  had  gathered  about  its  base;  and  on  the  Sorrento 


GERMANY— HEYSE  ,  273 

plains  the  houses  were  gleaming  white  from  the  dark  green  of  their 
orange-gardens. 

"Have  you  heard  no  more  of  that  painter,  Laurella?"  asked  the  curato 
—"that  Neapolitan,  who  wished  so  much  to  marry  you?-"  She  shook  her 
head.  "He  came  to  make  a  picture  of  you.  Why  would  you  not  let  him?" 

"What  did  he  want  it  for?  There  are  handsomer  girls  than  I.  Who 
knows  what  he  would  have  done  with  it?  He  might  have  bewitched  me 
with  it,  or  hurt  my  soul,  or  even  killed  me,  mother  says." 

"Never  believe  such  sinful  things!"  said  the  little  curato  very  earnestly. 
"Are  not  you  ever  in  God's  keeping,  without  whose  will  not  one  hair 
of  your  head  can  fall?  and  is  one  poor  mortal  with  an  image  in  his 
hand  to  prevail  against  the  Lord?  Besides,  you  might  have  seen  that  he 
was  fond  of  you;  else  why  should  he  want  to  marry  you?" 

She  said  nothing. 

"And  wherefore  did  you  refuse  him?  He  was  an  honest  man,  they 
say,  and  comely;  and  he  would  have  kept  you  and  your  mother  far 
better  than  you  ever  can  yourself,  for  all  your  spinning  and  silk- 
winding." 

"We  are  so  poor!"  she  said  passionately;  "and  mother  has  been  ill  so 
long,  we  should  have  become  a  burden  to  him.  And  then  I  never  should 
have  done  for  a  signora.  When  his  friends  came  to  see  him,  he  would 
only  have  been*  ashamed  of  me." 

"How  can  you  say  so?  I  tell  you  the  man  was  good  and  kind;  he 
would  even  have  been  willing  to  settle  in  Sorrento.  It  will  not  be  so 
easy  to  find  another,  sent  straight  from  heaven  to  be  the  saving  x>f  you, 
as  this  man,  indeed,  appeared  to  be." 

"I  want  no  husband — I  never  shall,"  she  said,  very  stubbornly,  half 
to  herself. 

"Is  this  a  vow?  or  do  you  mean  to  be  a  nun?/' 

She  shook  her  head. 

"The  people  are  not  so  wrong  who  call  you  wilful,  although  the  name 
they  give  you  is  not  kind.  Have  you  ever  considered  that  you  stand  alone 
ill  the  world,  and  that  your  perverseness  must  make  your  sick  mother's 
illness  worse  to  bear,  her  life  more  bitter?  And  what  sound  reason  can 
you  have  to  give  for  rejecting  an  honest  hand,  stretched  out  to  help  you 
and  your  mother?  Answer  me,  Laurella." 

"I  have  a  reason,"  she  said  reluctantly,  and  speaking  low;  "but  it  is 
one  I  cannot  give." 

"Not  give!  not  give  to  me?  not  to  your  confessor,  whom  you  surely 
know  to  be  your  friend — or  is  he  not? " 

Laurella  nodded. 

"Then,  child,  unburden  your  heart.  If  your  reason  be  a  good  one, 
I  shall  be  the  very  first  to  uphold  you  in  it.  Only  you  are  young,  and 
know  so  little  of  the  world,  A  time  may  come  when  you  will  find  cause 


274  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

to  regret  a  chance  of  happiness  thrown  away  for  some  foolish  fancy  now/' 

Shyly  she  threw  a  furtive  glance  over  to  the  other  end  of  the  boat, 
where  the  young  boatman  sat,  rowing  fast.  His  woolen  cap  was  pulled 
deep  down  over  his  eyes;  he  was  gazing  far  across  the  water,  with 
averted  head,  sunk,  as  it  appeared,  in  his  own  meditations. 

The  priest  observed  her  look,  and  bent  his  ear  down  closer. 

"You  did  not  know  my  father?"  she  whispered,  while  a  dark  look 
gathered  in  her  eyes. 

"Your  father,  child!  Why,  your  father  died  when  you  were  ten  years 
old.  What  can  your  father  (Heaven  rest  his  soul  in  paradise!)  have  to 
do  with  this  present  perversity  of  yours?" 

"You  did  not  know  him,  padre;  you  did  not  know  that  mother's  ill- 
ness was  caused  by  him  alone." 

"And  how?" 

"By  his  ill-treatment  of  her;  he  beat  her  and  trampled  upon  her. 
I  well  remember  the  nights  when  he  came  home  in  his  fits  of  frenzy. 
She  never  said  a  word,  and  did  everything  he  bade  her.  Yet  he  would 
beat  her  so,  my  heart  felt  ready  to  break.  I  used  to  cover  up  my  head  and 
pretend  to  be  asleep,  but  I  cried  all  night.  And  then,  when  he  saw  her 
lying  on  the  floor,  quite  suddenly  he  would  change,  and  lift  her  up 
and  kiss  her  till  she  screamed  and  said  he  smothered  her.  Mother  for- 
bade me  ever  to  say  a  word  of  this;  but  it  wore  her  out.  And  in  all  these 
long  years  since  father  died,  she  has  never  been  able  to  get  well  again. 
And  if  she  should  soon  die — which  God  forbid! — I  know  who  it  was 
that  killed  her." 

The  'little  curate's  head  wagged  slowly  to  and  fro;  he  seemed  un- 
certain how  far  to  acquiesce  in  the  young  girl's  reasons.  At  length  he 
said:  "Forgive  him,  as  your  mother  has  forgiven!  And  turn  your  thoughts 
from  such  distressing  pictures,  Laurella;  there  may  be  better  days  in 
store  for  you,  which  will  make  you  forget  the  past." 

"Never  shall  I  forget  that!"  she  said,  and  shuddered.  "And  you  must 
know,  padre,  it  is  the  reason  why  I  have  resolved  to  remain  unmarried. 
I  never  will  be  subject  to  a  man,  who  may  beat  and  then  caress  me. 
Were  a  man  now  to  want  to  beat  or  kiss  me,  I  could  defend  myself;  but 
mother  could  not — neither  from  his  blows  nor  kisses — because  she  loved 
him.  Now,  I  will  never  so  love  a  man  as  to  be  made  ill  and  wretched 
by  him." 

"You  are  but  a  child,  and  you  talk  like  one  who  knows  nothing  at  all 
of  life.  Are  all  men  like  that  poor  father  of  yours?  Do  all  ill-treat  their 
wives,  and  give  vent  to  every  whim  and  gust  of  passion?  Have  you 
never  seen  a  good  man  yet?  or  known  good  wives,  who  live  in  peace  and 
harmony  with  their  husbands?" 

tcBut  nobody  ever  knew  how  father  was  to  mother;  she  would  have 
died  sooner  than  complain  or  tell  of  him,  and  all  because  she  loved  him. 


— HEYSE 

If  this  be  love — if^  love  can  close  our  lipg  when  they  should  cry  out 
for  help — if  it  is  to'  nrtake  us  suffdr  without  resistance,  worse  than  even 
our  worst  enemy  could  make  us  suffer — then,  I  say,  I  never  will  be  fond 
of  mortal  man." 

"I  tell  you  you  are  childish;  you  know  not  what  you  are  saying.  When 
youf  time  comes,  you  are  iiot  likely  to  be  consulted  whether  you  choose 
to  fall  in  love  or  ftot."  After  a  pause,  he  added,  "And  that  painter:  did 
you  think  he  could  halve  been  cruel?" 

"He  made  those  eyes  I  have  seen  my  father  make,  when  he  begged  my 
mother's  pardon  and  took  her  in  his  arms  to  make  it  up.  I  know  those 
eyes.  A  man  may  make  such  eyes,  and  yet  find  it  in  his  heart  to  beat  a 
wife  who  never  did  a  thing  to  vex  him !  It  made  my  flesh  creep  to  see  those 
eyes  again." 

After  this  she  would  not  say  another  word.  The  curate  also  remained 
silent.  He  bethought  himself  of  more  than  one  wise  saying,  wherewith 
the  maiden  might  have  been  admoriished;  but  he  refrained,  in  considera- 
tion of  the  young  boatman,  who  had  been  growing  rather  restless  toward 
the  close  of  this  confession. 

When,  after  two  hours'  rowing,  they  reached  the  little  bay  of  Capri, 
Antonio  took  the  padre  in  his  arms,  and  carried  him  through  the  last 
few.  ripples  of  shallow  water,  to  set  him  reverently  down  upon  his  legs 
on  dry  land.  But  Laurella  did  not  wait  for  him  to  wade  back  and  fetch 
her.  Gathering  up  her  little  petticoat,  holding  in  one  hand  her  wooden 
shoes  and  in  the  .other  her  little  bundle,  with  one  splashing  step  or  two 
she  had  reached  the  shore.  "I  have  some  time  to  stay  at  Capri,"  said  the 
priest.  "You  need  not  wait — I  may  not  perhaps  return  before  to-morrow. 
When  you  get  home,  Laurella,  remember  me  to  your  mother;  I  will 
come  and  see  her  within  the  week.  YOU  mean  to  go  back  before  it  gets 
dark?" 

"If  I  find  an  opportunity,"  answered  the  girl,  turning  all  her  attention 
to  her  skirts. 

"I  must  return,  you- foiow,"  said  Antonio,  in  a  tone  which  hie  believed 
to  be  one  of  great  indifference.  "I  shall  wait  here  till  the  Ave  Maria. 
If  you  should  not  coirie,  it  is  the  same  to  me." 

"You  must  come,"  interposed  the  little  priest*  "you  neVef  ckri  leave 
your  mother  all  alone  a£  night.  Is  it  far  you  have  to  go?" 

"To  a  vineyard  by  Anacapri." 

"And  I  to  Capri.  So  now  God  bless  you,  child^arid  you,  my  son." 

Laurella  kissed  his  hand,  aftd  let  one  farewell  drt>p,  for  the  padre  and 
Antonio  to  divide  between  them.  Antonio,  however,  appropriated  no  part 
of  it  to  himself;  he  pulled  off  his  cap  exclusively  to  the  padre,  without* 
even  looking  at  Laurella.  But  after  they  had  turned  their  backs,  he  let 
his  eyes  travel  but  a  short  way  with  the  padfe,  as  he  went  toiling' over 
tte  deep  bed  of  small,  loose  stones;  he  soon  sfcnt  theft' after*  the 


GREAT*  SHORT  STORIES  of  tHE  WORLD 

who,  turning  to  the  right,  had  begun  to  climb  the  heights,  holding  ohe 
hand  above  her  eyes  to  protect  them  from  the  scorching  sun.  Just  before 
Ae  path  disappeared  behind  high  walls,  she, stopped,  as  if  to  gather 
breath,  and  looked  behind  her.  At  her  feet  lay  the  marina;  the  rugged 
rocks  rose  high  around  her;  the  sea  was  shining  in  the  rarest  of  its  deep- 
blue  splendor.  The  scene  was  surely  worth  a  moment's  pause.  But,  as 
chance  would  have  it,  her  eyes,  in  glancing  past  Antonio's  boat,  met  An- 
tonio's own,  which  had  been  following  her  as  she  climbed. 

Each  made  a  slight  movement,  as  persons  do  who  would  excuse  them- 
selves for  some  mistake;  and  then,  with  her  darkest  look,  the  maiden  went 
her  way. 

Hardly  one  hour  had  passed  since  noon,  and  yet  for  the  last  two  An- 
tonio had  been  sitting  waiting  on  the  bench  before  the  fishers'  tavern. 
He  must  have  been  very  much  preoccupied  with  something,  for  he  jumped 
up  every  moment  to  step  out  into  the  sunshine,  and  look  carefully  up 
and  down  the  roads,  which,  parting  right  and  left,  lead  to  the  only  two 
little  towns  upon  the  island.  He  did  not  altogether  trust  the  weather,  he 
then  said  to  the  hostess  of  the  osteria;  to  be  sure,  it  was  clear  enough, 
but  he  did  not  quite  like  that  tint  of  sea  and  sky.  Just  so  it  had  looked, 
he  said,  before  the  last  awful  storm,  when  the  English  family  had  been 
so  nearly  lost;  surely  she  must  remember  it?  e 

No,  indeed,  she  said,  she  didn't. 

Well,  if  the  weather  should  happen  to  change  before  night,  she  was 
to  think  of  him,  he  said. 

*cHave  you  many  fine  folk  over  there?"  she  asked  him,  after  a  while. 

"They  are  only  just  beginning;  as  yet,  the  season  has  been  bad  enough  j 
those  who  came  to  bathe,  came  late," 

"The  spring  came  late.  Have  you  not  been  earning  more  than  we  at 
Capri?" 

"Not  enough  to  give  me  macaroni  twice  a  week,  if  I  had  had  nothing 
but  the  boat— only  a  letter  now  and  then  to  take  to  Naples,  or  a  gentleman 
to  row  out  into  the  open  sea,  that  he  might  fish.  But  you  know  I  have, 
an  uncle  who  is  rich;  he  owns  more  than  one  fine  orange-garden;  aa4» 
Tonino,'  says  he  to  me,  'while  I  live  you  shall  not  suffer  want§  and 
when  I  am  gone  you  will  find  that  I  have  taken  care  of  you**  And  so, 
with  God's  help,  I  got  through  the  winter." 

"Has  he  children,  this  wele  who  is  rich?" 

"No,  he  never  nitrified;  he  was  long  in  foreign  parts,  and  many  a 
good  piastre  he.  has  laid  together.  He  is  going  to  set  up  a  great  fishing 
business,  a^d  act  me  over  it,  to  see  the  rights  of  it," 

''Why,  then  you  are  a  made  nxaifc,  Tonino!" 

The  young  boatman  shrugged  his  shoulders.  "Every  man  has  Ms  own 
burden,"  said  he,  starti&g  up  again  tq  Have  another  look  at  die  weather, 


GERMANY— HEYSE  277 

turning  his  eyes  right  and  left,  although  he  must  have  known  that  there 
can  be  no  weather  side  but  one. 

"Let  me  fetch  you  another  bottle,"  said  the  hostess;  "your  uncle  can 
well  afford  to  pay  for  it." 

"Not  more  than  one  glass;  it  is  a  fiery  wine  you  have  in  Capri,  and 
my  head  is  hot  already." 

"It  does  not  heat  the  blood;  you  may  drink  as  much  of  it  as  you  like. 
And  here  is  my  husband  coming;  so  you  must  sit  a  while,  and  talk  to 
him." 

And  in  fact,  with  his  nets  over  his  shoulder,  and  his  red  cap  upon  his 
curly  head,  down  came  the  comely  padrone  of  the  osteria.  He  had  been 
taking  a  dish  of  fish  to  that  great  lady,  to  set  before  the  little  curato. 
As  soon  as  he  caught  sight  of  the  young  boatman,  he  began  waving  him 
a  most  cordial  welcome;  and  he  came  to  sit  beside  him  on  the  bench, 
chattering  and  asking  questions.  Just  as  his  wife  was  bringing  her  second 
bottle  of  pure  unadulterated  Capri,  they  heard  the  crisp  sand  crunch,  and 
Laurella  was  seen  approaching  from  the  left-hand  road  to  Anacapri. 
She  nodded  slightly  in  salutation;  then  stopped,  and  hesitated. 

Antonio  sprang  from  his  seat.  "I  must  go,"  he  said.  "It  is  a  young 
Sorrento  girl,  who  came  over  with  the  signer  curato  in  the  morning. 
She  has  to  get  back  to  her  sick  mother  before  night." 

"Well,  well,  time  enough  yet  before  night,"  observed  the  fisherman; 
"time  enough  to  take  a  glass  of  wine.  Wife,  I  say,  another  glass!" 

"I  thank  you;  I  had  rather  not";  and  Laurella  kept  her  distance. 

'Till  the  glasses,  wife;  fill  them  both,  I  say;  she  only  wants  a  little 
pressing." 

"Don't,"  interposed  the  lad.  "It  is  a  wilful  head  of  her  own  she  has; 
a  saint  could  not  persuade  her  to  do  what  she  does  not  choose."  And, 
taking  a  hasty  leave,  he  ran  down  to  the  boat,  loosened  the  rope,  and  stood 
waiting  for  Laurella.  Again  she  bent  her  head  to  the  hostess,  and  slowly 
approached  the  water,  with  lingering  steps.  She  looked  around  on  every 
side,  as  if  in  hopes  of  seeing  some  other  passenger.  But  the  marina  was 
deserted.  The  fishermen  were  asleep,  or  rowing  about  the  coast  with  rods 
or  nets;  a  few  women  and  children  sat  before  their  doors,  spinning  or 
sleeping;  such  strangers  as  had  come  over  in  the  morning  were  waiting 
for  the  cool  of  the  evening  to  return.  She  had  not  time  to  look  about  her 
long;  before  she  could  prevent  him,  Antonio  had  seized  her  in  his  arms 
and  carried  her  to  the  boat,  as  if  she  had  been  an  infant.  He  leaped  in 
after  her,  and  with  a  stroke  or  two  of  his  oar  they  were  in  deep  water. 

She  had  seated  herself  at  the  end  of  the  boat,  half  turning  her  back 
to  him,  so  that  he  could  only  see  her  profile.  She  wore  a  sterner  look 
than  ever;  the  low,  straight  brow  was  shaded  by  her  hair;  the  rounded 
lips  were  firmly  closed;  only  the  delicate  nostril  occasionally  gave  a 
wilful  quiver.  After  they  had  gone  on  a  while  in  silence,  she  began  to 


278  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

feel  the  scorching  of  the  sun;  and,  unloosening  her  bundle,  she  threw 
the  handkerchief  over  her  head,  and.  began  to  make  her  dinner  of  the 
bread;  for  in  Capri  she  had  eaten  nothing. 

Antonio  did  not  stand  this  long;  he  fetched  out  a  couple  of  the  oranges 
with  which  the  baskets  had  been  filled  in  the  morning.  "Here  is  some- 
thing to  eat  to  your  bread,  Laurella,"  he  said.  "Don't  think  I  kept  them 
for  you;  they  had  rolled  out  of  the  basket,  and  I  only  found  them  when 
I  brought  the  baskets  back  to  the  boat." 

"Eat  them  yourself;  bread  is  enough  for  me." 

"They  are  refreshing  in  this  heat,  and  you  have  had  to  walk  so  far." 

"They  gave  me  a  drink  of  water,  and  that  refreshed  me." 

"As  you  please,"  he  said,  and  let  them  drop  into  the  basket. 

Silence  again.  The  sea  was  smooth  as  glass.  Not  a  ripple  was  heard 
against  the  prow.  Even  the  white  sea-birds  that  roost  among  the  caves 
of  Capri  pursued  their  prey  with  soundless  flight. 

"You  might  take  the  oranges  to  your  mother,"  again  commenced 
Tonino. 

"We  have  oranges  at  home;  and  when  they  are  gone,  I  can  go  and 
buy  some  more." 

"Nay,  take  these  to  her,  and  give  them  to  her  with  my  compliments." 

"She  does  not  know  you." 

"You  could  tell  her  who  I  am."  • 

"I  do  not  know  you  either." 

It  was  not  the  first  time  that  she  had  denied  him  thus.  One  Sunday 
of  last  year,  when  that  painter  had  first  come  to  Sorrento,  Antonio  had 
chanced  to  be  playing  boccla  with  some  other  young  fellows  in  the  little 
piazza  by  the  chief  street. 

There,  for  the  first  time,  had  the  painter  caught  sight  of  Laurella, 
who,  with  her  pitcher  on  her  head,  had  passed  by  without  taking  any 
notice  of  him.  The  Neapolitan,  struck  by  her  appearance,  stood  still  and 
gazed  after  her,  not  heeding  that  he  was  standing  in  the  very  midst 
of  the  game,  which,  with  two  steps,  he  might  have  cleared.  A  very  un- 
gentle ball  came  knocking  against  his  shins,  as  a  reminder  that  this  was 
not  the  spot  to  choose  for  meditation.  He  looked  round,  as  if  in  expecta- 
tion of  some  excuse.  But  the  young  boatman  who  had  thrown  the  ball 
stood  silent  among  his  friends,  in  such  an  attitude  of  defiance  that  the 
stranger  had  found  it  more  advisable  to  go  his  ways  and  avoid  discus- 
sion. Still,  this  little  encounter  had  been  spoken  of,  particularly  at  the 
time  when  the  painter  had  been  pressing  his  suit  to  Laurella.  "I  do  not 
even  know  him,"  she  said  indignantly,  when  the  painter  asked  her 
whether  it  was  for  the  sake  of  that  uncourteous  lad  she  now  refused 
him.  But  she  had  heard  that  piece  of  gossip,  and  known  Antonio  well 
enough  when  she  had  met  him  since. 

And  now  they  sat  together  in  this  boat,  like  two  most  deadly  enemies, 


GERMANY— HEYSE  279 

while  their  hearts  were  beating  fit  to  kill  them.  Antonio's  usually  so 
good-humored  face  was  heated  to  scarlet;  he  struck  the  oars  so  sharply 
that  the  foam  flew  over  to  where  Laurella  sat,  while  his  lips  moved  as  if 
muttering  angry  words.  She  pretended  not  to  notice,  wearing  her  most 
unconscious  look,  bending  over  the  edge  of  the  boat,  and  letting  the  cool 
water  pass  between  her  fingers.  Then  she  threw  off  her  handkerchief 
again,  and  began  to  smooth  her  hair,  as  though  she  had  been  alone.  Only 
her  eyebrows  twitched,  and  she  held  up  her  wet  hands  in  vain  attempts 
to  cool  her  burning  cheeks.  , 

Now  they  were  well  out  in  the  open  sea.  The  island  was  far  behind, 
and  the  coast  before  them  lay  yet  distant  in  the  hot  haze.  Not  a  sail  was 
within  sight,  far  or  near — not  even  a  passing  gull  to  break  the  stillness. 
Antonio  looked  all  round,  evidently  ripening  some  hasty  resolution.  The 
color  faded  suddenly  from  his  cheek,  and  he  dropped  his  oars.  Laurella 
looked  round  involuntarily — fearless,  yet  attentive. 

"I  must  make  an  end  of  this,"  the  young  fellow  burst  forth.  "It  has 
lasted  too  long  already!  I  only  wonder  that  it  has  not  killed  me!  You 
say  you  do  not  know  me?  And  all  this  time  you  must  have  seen  me  pass 
you  like  a  madman,  my  whole  heart  full  of  what  I  had  to  tell  you;  and 
then  you  only  made  your  Grossest  mouth,  and  turned  your  back  upon  me." 

"What  had  I  to  say  to  you?"  she  curtly  replied.  "I  may  have  seen 
that  you  wer§  inclined  to  meddle  with  me,  but  I  do  not  choose  to  be  on 
people's  Wicked  tongues  for  nothing.  I  do  not  mean  to  have  you  for 
a  husband — ijeither  you  nor  any  other." 

"Nor  any  other?  So  you  will  not  always  say!  You  say  so  now,  be- 
cause you  would  not  have  that  painter.  Bah,  you  were  but  a  child!  You 
.will  feel  lonely  enough  yet,  some  day;  and  then,  wild  as  you  are,  you  will 
take  the  next  best  who  comes  to  hand." 

"Who  knows?  which  of  us  can  see  the  future?  It  may  be  that  I  will 
change  my  mind.  What  is  that  to  you?" 

"What  is  it  to  me?"  he  flew  out,  starting  to  his  feet,  while  the  small 
boat  leaped  and  danced.  "What  is  it  to  me,  you  say?  You  know  well 
enough!  I  tell  you,  that  man  shall  perish  miserably  to  whom  you  shall 
prove  kinder  than  you  have  been  to  me!" 

"And  to  you,  what  did  I  ever  promise?  Am  I  to  blame  if  you  be  mad? 
What  right  have  you  to  me?" 

"Ah!  I  know,"  he  cried,  "my  right  is  written  nowhere.  It  has  not 
been  put  in  Latin  by  any  lawyer,  nor  stamped  with  any  seal.  But  this  I 
feel:  I  have  just  the  right  to  you  that  I  have  to  heaven,  if  I  die  an 
honest  Christian.  Do  you  think  I  could  look  on  and  see  you  go  to  church 
with  another  man,  and  see  the  girls  go  by  and  shrug  their  shoulders 
at  me?" 

"You  can  do  as  you  please.  I  am  not  going  to  let  myself  be  frightened 
by  all  those  threats.  I  also  mean  to  do  as  I  please." 


*86  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

.  "You  shall  not  say  so  long!"  and  his  whole  frame  shook  with  passion. 
**I  am  not  the  man  to  let  my  whole  life  be  spoiled  by  a  stubborn  wench 
like  you!  You  are  in  my  power  here,  remember,  and  may  be  made  to 
4o  my  bidding." 

She  could  not  repress  a  start,  but  her  eyes  flashed  bravely  on  him. 

"You  may  kill  me  if  you  dare,"  she  said  slowly. 

"I  do  nothing  by  halves,"  he  said,  and  his  voice  sounded  choked  and 
hoarse.  "There  is  room  for  us  both  in  the  sea.  I  cannot  help  thee,  child" 
—he  spoke  the  last  words  dreamily,  almost  pitifully — "but  we  must  both 
go  down  together — both  at  once — and  now!"  he  shouted,  and  snatched 
her  in  his  arms.  But  at  the  same  moment  he  drew  back  his  right  hand; 
the  blood  gushed  out;  she  had  bitten  him  fiercely, 

"Ha!  can  I  be  made  to  do  your  bidding?"  she  cried,  and  thrust  him 
from  her,  with  one  sudden  movement.  "Am  I  here  in  your  power?"  and 
she  leaped  into  the  sea,  and  sank. 

She 'rose  again  directly;  her  scanty  skirts  clung  close;  her  long  hair, 
loosened  by  the  waves,  hung  heavy  about  her  neck.  She  struck  out  val- 
iantly, and,  without  uttering  a  sound,  she  began  to  swim  steadily  from 
the  boat  toward  the  shore. 

With  senses  benumbed  by  sudden  terror,  he  stood,  with  outstretched 
neck,  looking  after  her,  his  eyes  fixed  as  though  they  had  just  been  wit- 
ness to  a  miracle.  Then,  giving  himself  a  shake,  he  seized*  his  oars,  and 
began  rowing  after  her  with  all  the  strength  he  had,  while  all  the  time 
the  bottom  of  the  boat  was  reddening  fast  with  the  blood  that  kept  stream- 
ing from  his  hand. 

Rapidly  as  she  swam,  he  was  at  her  side  in  a  moment.  "For  the  love 
pf  our  most  Holy  Virgin,"  he  cried,  "get  into  the  boat!  I  have  been  a 
madman!  God  alone  can  tell  what  so  suddenly  darkened  my  brain.  It 
came  upon  me  like  a  flash  of  lightning  and  set  me  all  on  fire.  I  knew 
not  what  I  did  or  said.  I  do  not  even  ask  you  to  forgive  me,  Laurella, 
only  to  come  into  the  boat  again  and  not  to  risk  your  life!" 

She  swam  on  as  though  she  had  not  heard  him. 

"You  can  never  swim  to  land.  I  tell  you  it  is  two  miles  off.  Think 
of  your  mother!  If  you  should  come  to  grief,  I  should  die  of  horror." 

She  measured  the  distance  with  her  eye,  and  then,  without  answering 
him  one  word,  she  swam  up  to  the  boat,  and  laid  her  hands  upon  the 
edge;  he  rose  to  help  her  in.  As  the  T>oat  tilted  over  to  one  side  with  the 
girl's  weight,  his  jacket  that  was  lying  on  the  bench  slipped  into  the 
water.  Agile  as  she  was,  she  swung  herself  on  board  without  assistance, 
and  gained  her  former  seat.  As  soon  as  he  saw  that  she  was  safe,  he  took 
to  his  oars  again,  while  she  began  quietly  wringing  but  he*  dripping 
clothes,  and  shaking  the  water  from  her  hair.  As  her  eyes  fell  upon 
die  bottom  of  the  boat,  and  saw  the  blood,  she  gave  a  quick  look  at  the 
hand,  which  held  the  oar  as  if  it  had  been  unhurt. 


GERMANY— HEYSE  281 

"Take  this,"  she  said,  and  held  out  her  handkerchief.  He  shook  his 
head,  and  went  on  rowing.  After  a  time  she  rose,  and,  stepping  up  to 
him,  bound  the  handkerchief  firmly  round  the  wound,  which  was  very 
deep.  Then,  heedless  of  his  endeavors  to  prevent  her,  she  took  an  oar, 
and,  seating  herself  opposite  him,  began  to  row  with  steady  strokes,  keep- 
ing her  eyes  from  looking  toward  him — fixed  upon  the  oar  that  was  scar- 
let with  his  blood.  Both  were  pale  and  silent.  As  they  drew  near  land, 
such  fishermen  as  they  met  began  shouting  after  Antonio  and  gibing  at 
Laurella;  but  neither  of  them  moved  an  eyelid,  or  spoke  one  word. 

The  sun  stood  yet  high  over  Procida  when  they  landed  at  the  marina. 
Laurella  shook  out  her  petticoat,  now  nearly  dry,  and  jumped  on  shore. 
The  old  spinning  woman,  who  in  the  morning  had  seen  them  start,  was 
still  upon  her  terrace.  She  called  down,  "What  is  that  upon  your  hand, 
Tonino?  Jesus  Christ!  the  boat  is  full  of  blood!" 

"It  is  nothing,  comare,"  the  young  fellow  replied.  "I  tore  my  hand 
against  a  nail  that  was  sticking  out  too  far;  it  will  be  well  to-morrow. 
It  is  only  this  confounded  ready  blood  of  mine,  that  always  makes  a 
thing  look  worse  than  it  is." 

"Let  me  come  and  bind  it  up,  comparello.  Stop  one  moment;  I  will 
go  and  fetch  the  herbs,  and  come  to  you  directly." 

"Never  trouble  yourself,  comare.  It  has  been  dressed  already;  to- 
morrow morr/Jng  it  will  be  all  over  and  forgotten.  I  have  a  healthy 
skin,  that  lieals  directly." 

"Addio!"  said  Laurella,  turning  to  the  path  that  goes  winding  up  the 
cliffs.  "Good-night!"  he  answered,  without  looking  at  her;  and  then 
taking  his  oars  and  baskets  from  the  boat,  and  climbing  up  the  small 
stone  stairs,  he  went  into  his  own  hut. 

He  was  alone  in  his  two  little  rooms,  and  began  to  pace  them  up  and 
down.  Cooler  than  upon  the  dead  calm  sea,  the  breeze  blew  fresh  through 
the  small  unglazed  windows,  which  could  only  be  closed  with  wooden 
shutters.  The  solitude  was  soothing  to  him.  He  stooped  before  the  little 
image  of  the  Virgin,  devoutly  gazing  upon  the  glory  round  the  head 
(made  of  stars  cut  out  in  silver  paper).  But  he  did  not  want  to  pray. 
What  reason  had  he  to  pray,  now  that  he  had  lost  all  he  had  ever  hoped 
for? 

And  this  day  appeared  to  last  forever.  He  did  so  long  for  night!  for 
he  was  weary,  and  more  exhausted  by  the  loss  of  blood  than  he  would 
have  cared  to  own.  His  hand  was  very  sore.  Seating  himself  upon  a  little 
stool,  he  untied  the  handkerchief  that  bound  it;  the  blood,  so  long  re- 
pressed, gushed  out  again;  all  round  the  wound  the  hand  was  swollen 
high. 

He  washed  it  carefully,  cooling  it  in  the  water;  then  he  clearly  saw 
the  marks  of  Lauretta's  teeth. 


*82  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  .OF  THE  WORLD 

"She  was  right/*  he  said;  "I  was  a  brute,  and  deserved  no  better.  I 
will  send  her  back  the  handkerchief  by  Giuseppe  to-morrow.  Never 
shall  she  set  eyes  on  me  again."  And  he  washed  the  handkerchief  with 
the  greatest  care,  and  spread  it  out  in  the  sun  to  dry. 

And  having  bound  up  his  hand  again,  as  well  as  he  could  manage  with 
his  teeth  and  his  left  hand,  he  threw  himself  upon  his  bed,  and  closed 
his  eyes. 

He  was  soon  waked  up  from  a  sort  of  slumber  by  the  rays  of  the 
bright  moonlight,  and  also  by  the  pain  of  his  hand;  he  had  just  risen 
for  more  cold  water  to  soothe  its  throbbings,  when  he  heard  the  sound 
of  someone  at  the  door.  Laurella  stood  before  him. 

She  came  in  without  a  question,  took  off  the  handkerchief  she  had 
tied  over  her  head,  and  placed  her  little  basket  upon  the  table;  then 
she  drew  a  deep  breath. 

"You  are  come  to  fetch  your  handkerchief,'1  he  said.  "You  need  not 
have  taken  that  trouble.  In  the  morning  I  would  have  asked  Giuseppe  to 
take  it  to  you." 

"It  is  not  the  handkerchief,"  she  said  quickly.  "I  have  been  up  among 
the  hills  to  gather  herbs  to  stop  the  blood;  see  here."  And  she  lifted  the 
lid  of  her  little  basket. 

"Too  much  trouble,"  he  said,  not  in  bitterness — "far  too  much  trouble. 
I  am  better,  much  better;  but  if  I  were  worse,  it  would  be*  no  more  than 
I  deserve.  Why  did  you  come  at  such  a  time?  If  any  one  should  see  you?, 
YOU  know  how  they  talk,  even  when  they  don't  know  what  they  are 
saying." 

"I  care  for  no  one's  talk,"  she  said,  passionately.  "I  came  to  see  your 
hand,  and  put  the  herbs  upon  it;  you  cannot  do  it  with  your  left." 

"It  is  not  worth  while,  I  tell  you." 

"Let  me  see  it  then,  if  I  am  to  believe  you." 

She  took  his  hand,  that  was  not  able  to  prevent  her,  and  unbound  the 
linen.  When  she  saw  the  swelling,  she  shuddered,  and  gave  a  cry:  "Jesus 
Maria!" 

"It  is  a  little  swollen,"  he  said;  "it  will  be  over  in  four-and-twenty 
hours." 

She  shook  her  head.  "It  will  certainly  be  a  week  before  you  can  go 
to  sea."  » 

"More  likely  a  day  or  two;  and  if  not,  what  matters?" 

She  had  fetched  a  basin,  and  began  carefully  washing  out  the  wound, 
which  he  suffered  passively,  like  a  child.  She  then  laid  on  the  healing 
leaves,  which  at  once  relieved  the  burning  pain,  and  finally  bound  it  up 
with  the  linen  she  had  brought  with  her. 

When  it  was  done:  "I  thank  you,"  he  said.  "And  now,  if  you  would 
do  me  one  more  kindness,  forgive  the  madness  that  came  over  me;  forget 
all  I  said  and  did.  I  cannot  tell  how  it  came  to  pass;  certainly  it  was 


GERMANY— HEYSE  283 

not  your  fault — not  yours.  And  never  shall  you  hear  from  me  again 
one  word  to  vex  you." 

She  interrupted  him.  "It  is  I  who  have  to  beg  your  pardon.  I  should 
have  spoken  differently.  I  might  have  explained  it  better,  and  not  en- 
raged you  with  my  sullen  ways.  And  now  that  bite — " 

"It  was  in  self-defense;  it  was  high  time  to  bring  me  to  my  senses. 
As  I  said  before,  it  is  nothing  at  all  to  signify.  Do  not  talk  of  being  for- 
given; you  only  did  me  good,  and  I  thank  you  for  it.  And  now,  here 
is  your  handkerchief;  take  it  with  you." 

He  held  it  to  her,  but  yet  she  lingered,  hesitated,  and  appeared  to  have 
some  inward  struggle.  At  length  she  said:  "You  have  lost  your  jacket, 
and  by  my  fault;  and  I  know  that  all  the  money  for  the  oranges  was 
in  it.  I  did  not  think  of  this  till  afterward.  I  cannot  replace  it  now;  we 
have  not  so  much  at  home — or  if  we  had,  it  would  be  mother's.  But  this 
I  have — this  silver  cross.  That  painter  left  it  on  the  table  the  day  he 
came  for  the  last  time.  I  have  never  looked  at  it  all  this  while,  and  do 
not  care  to  keep  it  in  my  box;  if  you  were  to  sell  it?  It  must  be  worth 
a  few  piastres,  mother  says.  It  might  make  up  the  money  you  have  lost; 
and  if  not  quite,  I  could  earn  the  rest  by  spinning  at  night  when  mother 
is  asleep." 

"Nothing  will  make  me  take  it,"  he  said  shortly,  pushing  away  the 
bright  new  cross  which  she  had  taken  from  her  pocket. 

"You  must,"  she  said;  "how  can  you  tell  how  long  your  hand  may  keep 
you  from  your  work?  There  it  lies;  and  nothing  can  make  me  so  much 
as  look  at  it  again." 

"Drop  it  in  the  sea,  then." 

"It  is  no  present  I  want  to  make  you;  it  is  no  more  than  is  your  due; 
it  is  only  fair." 

"Nothing  from  you  can  be  due  to  me;  and  hereafter  when  we  chance 
to  meet,  if  you  would  do  me  a  kindness,  I  beg  you  not  to  look  my  way. 
It  would  make  me  feel  you  were  thinking  of  what  I  have  done.  And 
now  good-night;  and  let  this  be  the  last  word  said." 

She  laid  the  handkerchief  in  the  basket,  and  also  the  cross,  and  closed 
the  lid.  But  when  he  looked  into  her  face,  he  started.  Great  heavy  drops 
were  rolling  down  her  cheeks;  she  let  them  flow  unheeded. 

"Maria  Santissima!"  he  cried.  "Are  you  ill?  YOU  are  trembling  from 
head  to  foot!" 

"It  is  nothing,"  she  said;  "I  must  go  home";  and  with  unsteady  steps 
she  was  moving  to  the  door,  when  suddenly  she  leaned  her  brow  against 
the  wall,  and  gave  way  to  a  fit  of  bitter  sobbing.  Before  he  could  go 
to  her  she  turned  upon  him  suddenly,  and  fell  upon  his  neck. 

"I  cannot  bear  it!"  she  cried,  clinging  to  him  as  a  dying  thing  to  life 
— "I  cannot  bear  it!  I  cannot  let  you  speak  so  kindly,  and  bid  me  go, 
with  all  this  on  my  conscience.  Beat  me!  trample  on  me!  curse  me!  Or 


*84  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

if  it  can  be  that  you  love  me  still,  after  all  I  have  done  to  you,  take  me 
and  keep  me,  and  do  with  me  as  you  please;  only  do  not  send  me  away, 
so!"  She  could  say  no  more  for  sobbing. 

Speechless,  he  held  her  a  while  in  his  arms.  "If  I  can  love  you  still!" 
he  cried  at  last.  "Holy  Mother  of  God!  Do  you  think  that  all  my  best 
heart's  blood  has  gone  from  me  through  that  little  wound?  Don't  you 
hear  it  hammering  now,  as  though  it  would  burst  my  breast  and  go  to 
you?  But  if  you  say  this  to  try  me,  or  because  you  pity  me,  I  can  forget 
it.  You  are  not  to  think  you  owe  me  this,  because  you  know  what  I  have 
suffered  for  you." 

"No!"  she  said  very  resolutely,  looking  up  from  his  shoulder  into  his 
face,  with  her  tearful  eyes;  "it  is  because  I  love  you;  and  let  me  tell 
you,  it  was  because  I  always  feared  to  love  you  that  I  was  so  cross.  I 
will  be  so  different  now.  I  never  could  bear  again  to  pass  you  in  the  street 
without  one  look!  And  lest  you  should  ever  feel  a  doubt,  I  will  kiss  you, 
that  you  may  say,  'She  kissed  me';  and  Laurella  kisses  no  man  but  her 
husband." 

She  kissed  him  thrice,  and,  escaping  from  his  arms:  "And  now  good- 
night, amor  mio,  cara  vita  mia!"  she  said.  "Lie  down  to  sleep,  and  let 
your  hand  get  well.  Do  not  come  with  me ;  I  am  afraid  of  no  man,  save 
of  you  alone." 

And  so  she  slipped  out,  and  soon  disappeared  in  the  shadow  of  the 
wall. 

He  remained  standing  by  the  window,  gazing  far  out  over  the  calm 
sea,  while  all  the  stars  in  heaven  appeared  to  flit  before  his  eyes. 

The  next  time  the  little  curato  sat  in  his  confessional,  he  sat  smiling 
to  himself.  Laurella  had  just  risen  from  her  knees  after  a  very  long 
confession. 

"Who  would  have  thought  it?"  he  said  musingly — "that  the  Lord 
would  so  soon  have  taken  pity  upon  that  wayward  little  heart?  And  I 
had  been  reproaching  myself  for  not  having  adjured  more  sternly  that 
ill  demon  of  perversity.  Our  eyes  are  but  shortsighted  to  see  the  ways  of 
Heaven!  Well,  may  God  bless  her,  I  say,  and  let  me  live  to  go  to  sea 
with  Laurella's  eldest  born  rowing  me  in  his  father's  place!  Ah!  well, 
indeed!  1'Arrabiata!" 


ARTHUR  SCHNITZLER 
(1862—) 

ARTHUR  SCHNITZLER,  torn  at  Vienna  in  1862,  is  one  of  the  most 
distinguished  figures  in  contemporary  Austrian  literature,   and  a 


GERMANY— SCHNITZLER  285 

dramatist  and  fiction  writer  of  international  renown*  His  delicately 
written  and  finely  conceived  short  stories  are  among  the  very  best 
of  their  kind.  The  Trifle  Warning  is  a  philosophical  and  meta- 
physical parable  related  in  the  author's  best  and  most  brilliant  style.  - 
The  present  version  is  translated  especially  for  this  collection 
by  Barrett  H.  Clark,  from  the  volume  Masks  and  Miracles,  by  per- 
mission of  the  author. 


THE  TRIPLE  WARNING 

IN  the  morning  mist,  shot  through  with  the  blue  of  the  heavens,  a 

youth  was  making  his  way  toward  the  beckoning  mountains.  His  heart 
thrilled  to  the  rhythmical  beat  of  all  the  world.  Without  a  care  or  worry 
he  went  on  for  hours  over  the  level  country  when,  on  reaching  the 
edge  of  a  forest,  a  voice  rang  out,  sounding  at  once  near  at  hand  and 
far-off,  and  very  mysterious: 

"Go  not  through  this  forest,  youth,  unless  thou  wouldst  commit 
murder." 

The  youth  stood  still  in  astonishment,  looked  in  every  direction,  and 
seeing  nowhere  any  sign  of  a  living  being,  concluded  that  it  was  a  spirit 
that  had  addressed  him.  But  his  innate  courage  would  not  permit  him 
to  heed  the  strange  call,  and  reducing  his  gait  only  a  little,  he  proceeded 
on  his  way  without  misgiving,  his  senses  keenly  alert,  in  order  that 
he  might  be  prepared  for  a  meeting  with  the  unknown  enemy  that  had 
warned  him.  But  he  met  no  one,  nor  heard  any  suspicious  sound  as,  un- 
challenged, he  emerged  out  of  the  deep  shadows  of  the  trees  into  the 
open.  Under  the  last  wide  boughs  he  sank  down  for  a  short  rest,  allowing 
his  eyes  to  wander  out  across  a  wide  meadow  toward  the  mountains,  from 
among  which  one  peak  rose  aloft,  naked  and  sharply  outlined.  This  was 
his  ultimate  goal. 

But  scarcely  had  he  arisen  again  when  for  the  second  time  the  myste- 
rious voice  was  heard,  sounding  at  once  near  at  hand  and  far-off, 
mysteriously,  but  more  earnestly  than  before: 

"Go  not  through  this  meadow,  youth,  unless  thou  wouldst  bring  ruin 
to  thy  Fatherland." 

The  youth's  pride  this  time  forbade  his  taking  heed;  he  even  smiled 
at  the  rigmarole,  which  was  delivered  with  the  air  as  of  one  concealing 
something  very  important,  and  hurried  on,  not  knowing  whether  im- 
patience or  unrest  hastened  his  steps.  The  damp  mist  of  evening  descended 
upon  the  plain  as  he  at  last  stood  facing  the  rocky  wall  below  his  goal. 
Hardly  had  he  set  foot  upon  the  bare  surface  of  the  stone,  when  the 
voice  rang  out  again,  near  at  hand  and  far-off,  mysteriously,  but  more 
threateningly  than  before: 


266  GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

"No  farther,  youth,  else  wilt  thou  suffer  death." 

The  youth  laughed  loudly  and,  without  haste  or  hesitation,  went  on 
his  way.  And  the  less  clear  the  ascending  path  became,  the  more  did  his 
chest  expand,  and  finally  on  the  bravely  conquered  peak  his  head  was 
illumined  by  the  last  light  of  day. 

"Here  I  am!"  he  called  out  in  a  tone  of  triumph.  "If  this  was  a 
test,  O  good  or  evil  spirit,  then  have  I  won!  No  murder  weighs  on 
my  conscience,  unharmed  slumbers  my  Fatherland  below,  and  I  still  live. 
Whosoever  thou  art,  I  am  stronger  than  thou,  for  I  did  not  believe  thee, 
and  I  did  right." 

Whereupon  came  a  great  sound  as  of  thunder  from  the  mountain 
sides,  and  at  the  same  time  exceeding  close  at  hand: 

"Youth,  thou  errest!"  And  the  overpowering  weight  of  the  words 
felled  the  wanderer.  He  stretched  himself  out  on  the  edge  of  rock  as 
though  he  intended  to  rest  there,  and  with  an  ironical  curl  of  the  lips 
he  said  half  to  himself: 

"So  it  appears  that  I  have  committed  murder  without  knowing  it!" 

"Thy  careless  foot  has  crushed  a  worm,"  the  answer  thundered  back. 
And  the  youth  answered  with  indifference: 

"I  see:  neither  a  good  nor  an  evil  spirit  spoke  to  me,  but  a  spirit  with 
a  sense  of  humor.  I  was  not  aware  that  such  hovered  about  among  us 
mortals."  9 

And  again  the  voice  resounded  in  the  fading  twilight  of  the  heights: 

"Art  thou  then  no  longer  the  same  youth  whose  heart  only  this  morn- 
ing thrilled  to  the  rhythmical  beat  of  all  the  world?  Is  thy  soul  so  dead 
that  thou  art  untouched  by  the  happiness  and  sorrow  of  even  a  worm?" 

"Is  that  thy  meaning?"  replied  the  youth,  wrinkling  his  forehead. 
"In  that  event  am  I  a  hundred — a  thousand  times  guilty,  like  other 
mortals,  whose  careless  steps  have  innocently  destroyed  tiny  creatures 
without  number." 

"Against  this  particular  thing  wast  thou  warned.  Dost  thou  know  to 
what  purpose  this  worm  was  destined  in  the  eternal  scheme  of  things?" 

With  sunken  head  the  youth  made  answer: 

"Since  I  neither  knew  nor  could  know  that,  thou  must  humbly  confess 
that  in  my  wandering  through  the  forest  I  have  committed  precisely 
the  one  of  many  possible  murders  that  it  was  thy  will  to  prevent.  But 
how  I  have  contrived  in  my  way  over  the  fields  to  bring  ruin  to  my 
Fatherland,  I  am  really  most  curious  to  learn." 

"Sawest  thou,  youth,  the  bright-colored  butterfly,"  came  the  whispered 
answer,  "that  fluttered  once  to  the  right  of  thee?" 

"Many  butterflies  did  I  see,  as  well  as  the  one  thou  mentionest." 

"Many  butterflies!  Ah,  many  did  the  breath  from  thy  lips  drive  far 
from  their  way;  but  the  one  I  speak  of  was  driven  off  to  the  east,  wing- 
ing its  way  far  and  wide  until  it  flew  over  the  golden  fence  that  en* 


GERMANY— SCHN1TZLER  387 

closes  the  royal  park.  From  that  butterfly  will  be  born  the  caterpillar 
which  next  year,  one  hot  summer  afternoon,  will  crawl  over  the  white 
neck  of  the  young  queen,  awakening  her  so  suddenly  from  her  sleep 
that  her  heart  will  stand  still  in  her  breast,  and  the  fruit  of  her  womb 
languish  and  die.  Thus  the  king's  brother  will  inherit  the  kingdom  in- 
stead of  the  rightful  heir,  whom  thou  wilt  have  cheated  of  his  life; 
vicious,  malicious,  and  cruel,  he  will  so  rule  as  to  bring  his  people  to 
despair,  madness,  and  finally,  in  a  frantic  effort  to  save  himself,  he  will 
plunge  his  country  into  a  terrible  war,  and  thus  bring  thy  dear  Fatherland 
to  ruin.  And  on  no  one  but  thou  rests  the  blame  for  all  this,  thou  whose 
breath  drove  the  colored  butterfly  eastwards  across  the  meadow  until 
it  flew  over  the  golden  fence  of  the  king's  park." 

The  youth  shrugged  his  shoulders: 

"How,  O  invisible  spirit,  can  I  deny  that  all  this  that  thou  prophesiest 
will  come  to  pass,  since  on  earth  one  thing  always  follows  from  another, 
and  often  the  most  terrible  events  are  caused  by  the  most  trivial  things, 
and  the  most  trivial  events  by  the  most  terrible  things?  And  why  should  I 
believe  this  particular  prophecy,  since  the  other,  threatening  me  with 
death  should  I  mount  these  steps,  has  not  come  to  pass?" 

"He  who  mounts  those  steps,"  rang  out  the  terrible  voice,  "must  turn 
back  and  descend  them,  if  he  wishes  to  mix  with  mankind  again.  Hast 
thou  ponderejj  that?" 

The  youth  stopped  suddenly  and  for  a  moment  it  seemed  as  though 
he  would  take  the  safe  path  downwards,  but  fearing  the  impene- 
trable night  that  encircled  him,  he  clearly  perceived  that  for  so  hazardous 
an  enterprise  he  would  require  the  light  of  day,  and  in  order  to  make 
sure  that  he  would  have  all  his  wits  at  his  command  on  the  morrow,  he 
lay  down  again  on  the  narrow  ledge,  longing  ardently  for  the  sleep 
that  strengthens.  As  he  lay  there  motionless,  his  thoughts  keeping  him 
awake,  he  opened  his  tired  eyelids,  while  anxious  shudders  ran  through 
his  heart  and  veins.  The  dizzy  precipice  was  ever  before  his  eyes:  that 
way  lay  the  only  road  back  to  life.  He  who  until  then  had  been  always 
sure  of  his  path,  now  felt  in  his  soul  a  doubt  he  had  never  before  ex- 
perienced, that  deepened  and  caused  him  ever  greater  agony,  until  he 
could  no  longer  bear  it.  He  therefore  decided  rather  to  attempt  forthwith 
what  could  not  be  avoided  than  to  await  the  light  in  a  torment  of  in- 
certitude. Again  he  arose,  ready  for  the  venture  without  the  blessed  light 
of  day,  to  conquer  with  faltering  steps  the  dangerous  path.  But  hardly 
had  he  set  foot  into  the  darkness  when  he  realized  as  though  condemned 
by  an  irrevocable  judgment,  that  his  fate  was  to  be  fulfilled  without 
delay.  He  called  out  into  the  emptiness  in  anger  and  sorrow: 
•  "O  Invisible  Spirit,  who  hast  three  times  warned  me  and  whom  I 
have  thrice  refused  to  believe,  O  Spirit  to  whom  I  now  bow  down  as 
to  one  stronger  than  I,  tell  me,  ere  thou  destroyest  me,  who  thou  art?" 


288  GftEAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THEE  WORLD 

Again  the  voice  rang  out,  stiflingly  dose  at  hand  and  immeasurably 
far  away: 

"No  mortal  hath  yet  known  me.  Many  names  have  I:  the  superstitious 
call  me  Destiny,  fools  call  me  Luck,  and  the  pious  call  me  God.  To 
those  who  deem  themselves  wise  I  am  that  Power  which  was  in  the  Be- 
ginning and  continues  without  end  through  all  Eternity." 

"Then  I  curse  thee  in  this  my  last  moment,"  shouted  the  youth  with 
die  bitterness  of  death  in  his  heart.  "If  thou  art  indeed  the  Power  that 
was  in  the  Beginning  and  continues  without  end  through  all  Eternity, 
then  was  it  fated  that  all  should  happen  as  it  did — that  I  should  go 
through  the  forest  and  commit  murder,  that  I  should  cross  the  meadow 
and  bring  ruin  upon  my  Fatherland,  that  I  should  climb  this  rock  and 
here  find  death — all  this  despite  thy  warning.  But  why  was  I  condemned 
to  hear  thee  speak  to  me  thrice,  if  thy  warning  was  not  to  help  me?  And 
why,  oh,  irony  of  ironies!  must  I  in  this  my  last  moment  whimper  my 
feeble  question  to  thee?" 

An  answer  was  made  to  the  youth,  stern  and  terrible,  in  a  peal  of 
mysterious  laughter  that  echoed  to  the  utmost  confines  of  the  invisible 
heavens.  As  he  tried  to  catch  the  words  the  earth  moved  and  sank  from 
under  his  feet.  He  fell,  deeper  than  a  million  bottomless  pits,  amid  all  the 
lurking  nights  of  time,  that  have  been  and  will  be,  from  the  Beginning 
to  the  End  of  all  things. 


HERMANN  SUDERMANN 

(1857—) 

SUDERMANN  was  born  in  East  Prussia  in  1857,  and  educated  at  the 
Universities  of  Konigsberg  and  Berlin.  He  was  one  of  the  fore- 
most leaders  of  the  dramatic  movement  of  the  nineties,  though 
to-day  he  is  regarded  as  definitely  belonging  to  the  past.  But  his 
stories  of  East  Prussian  and  Lithuanian  life,  and  his  novels,  are 
written  with  a  fine  imaginative  power,  and  are  still  read  both  in 
Germany  and  abroad. 

The  present  version,  translated  by  Grace  I.  Colbron,  is  reprinted 
by  permission  of  the  publisher,  from  Short  Story  Classics,  pub- 
lished and  copyright  by  P.  F.  Collier's  Sons,  New  York,  1907. 


A  NEW-YEAR'S  EVE  CONFESSION 

FTT*HANKS  be  to  God,  dear  lady,  that  I  may  once  more  sit  beside  you 
JL     for  a  peaceful  chat.  The  holiday  tumult  is  past,  and  you  have  a  - 
little  leisure  for  me  again. 


GERMANY— SUDERMANN  289 

Oh,  this  Christmas  season!  I  believe  that  it  was  invented  by  some 
evil  demon  expressly  to  annoy  us  poor  bachelors,  to  show  us  the  more 
clearly  all  the  desolation  of  our  homeless  existence.  For  others  a  source 
of  joy,  it  is  for  us  a  torture.  Of  course,  I  know,  we  are  not  all  entirely 
lonely — for  us  also  the  joy  of  making  others  happy  may  blossom,  that 
joy  upon  which  rests  the  whole  secret  of  the  blessed  holiday  mood.  But 
the  pleasure  of  joining  m  the  happiness  of  others  is  tainted  for  us  by 
a  touch  of  self-irony  partly,  and  also  by  that  bitter  longing  to  which — in 
contrast  to  homesickness — I  would  give  the  name  of  "marriage  sickness." 

Why  didn't  I  come  to  pour  out  my  heart  to  you?  you  ask,  you  pitying 
soul,  you — you  that  can  give  of  your  sympathy  in  the  same  rich  measure 
that  others  of  your  sex  save  for  their  dainty  malices.  There's  a  reason. 
You  remember  what  Speidel  says  in  his  delightful  Lonely  Sparrows, 
which  you  sent  me  the  day  af  ter  Christmas,  with  a  true  perception  of  my 
state  of  mind?  "The  bachelor  by  instinct,"  he  says,  "does  not  desire  com- 
fort. Once  he  is  unhappy,  he  wishes  to  have  the  full  enjoyment  of  his 
unhappiness." 

Besides  the  "lonely  sparrow"  whom  Speidel  portrays,  there  is  another 
sort  of  bachelor,  the  so-called  "friend  of  the  family,"  By  this  I  do 
not  mean  those  professional  wreckers  of  homes,  in  whose  eyes  the  serpent 
glitters  as  they  settle  down  comfortably  at  the  hospitable  hearthstone. 
I  mean  the  good  uncle,  papa's  former  school  friend,  who  rocks  the 
baby  on  his,  knee  while  he  reads  the  magazine  essays  to  mamma,  care- 
fully omitting  all  the  doubtful  portions. 

I  know  men  who  give  up  their  entire  lives  to  the  service  of  some  family 
whose  friendship  they  have  won — men  who  live  on  without  desire  by 
the  side  of  a  beautiful  woman  whom  in  their  hearts  they  secretly  adore. 

You  doubt  me?  Oh,  it  is  the  words  "without  desire"  that  disturb  you? 
You  are  right,  perhaps.  In  the  depth  of  even  the  tamest  heart  some  wild 
desire  lies,  but — understand  me  here — it  lies  bound  in  chains. 

As  an  instance  I  would  like  to  tell  you  about  a  conversation  which 
took  place  day  before  yesterday,  on  New  Year's  Eve,  between  two  old, 
two  very  old,  gentlemen.  It  is  my  secret  how  I  came  to  know  of  this 
conversation,  and  I  ask  you  not  to  let  it  go  any  further.  May  I  begin, 
then? 

Picture  to  yourself,  as  a  setting  for  my  story,  a  high-ceilinged  room, 
old-fashioned  in  furnishings,  lighted  by  a  green-shaded,  impertinently 
bright  hanging-lamp  of  the  sort  our  parents  had  in  use  before  the  era 
of  petroleum.  The  cone  of  light  that  goes  out  from  the  flame  falls  upon 
a  round,  white-clothed  table,  upon  which  stands  the  various  ingredients 
for  a  New-Year's  punch,  while  several  drops  of  oil  show  out  broadly  in 
the  center  of  the  table. 

My  two  old  gentlemen  sat  half  in  the  shadow  of  the  green  lamp-shade, 
moldering  ruins  both,  from  long-past  days,  bowed  and  trembling,  gazing 


GREAT  SHORT  STORIES  OF  THE  WORLD 

before  them  with  the  dull  glance  of  the  dimming  eyes  of  age.  One,  the 
host,  is  evidently  an  old  officer,  as  you  would  recognize  at  once  from  his 
carefully  wound  cravat,  his  pointed,  sharply  cut  mustache,  and  his 
martial  eyebrows.  He  sits  holding  the  handle  of  his  roller-chair  like  a 
crutch  tightly  clasped  in  both  hands.  He  is  motionless  except  for  his  jaws, 
which  move  up  and  down  ceaselessly  with  the  motion  of  chewing.  The 
other,  who  sits  near  him  on  the  sofa,  a  tall,  spare  figure,  his  narrow 
shoulders  crowned  by  the  high-domed  head  of  a  thinker,  draws  occasional 
thin  puffs  of  smoke  from  a  long  pipe  which  is  just  about  to  go  out. 
Among  the  myriad  wrinkles  of  his  smooth-shaven,  dried-up  face,  framed 
in  a  wreath  of  snow-white  curls,  there  lurked  a  quiet,  gentle  smile,  a 
Smile  which  the  peace  of  resignation  alone  can  bring  to  the  face  of  age. 
The  two  were  silent.  In  the  perfect  stillness  of  the  room  the  soft 
bubbling  of  the  burning  oil  mingled  with  the  soft  bubbling  of  the 
tobacco  juice.  Then,  from  the  darkness  of  the  background,  the  hanging 
clock  began  to  announce  hoarsely  the  eleventh  hour.  "This  is  the 
hour  when  she  would  begin  to  make  the  punch,"  said  the  man  with  the 
domed  forehead.  His  voice  was  soft,  with  a  slight  vibration. 

"Yes,  this  is  the  time,"  repeated  the  other.  The  sound  of  his  speech 
was  hard,  as  if  the  rattle  of  command  still  lingered  in  it. 

"I  did  not  think  it  would  be  so  desolate  without  her,"  said  the  first 
speaker  again.  • 

The  host  nodded,  his  jaws  moving. 

"She  made  the  New-Year's  punch  for  us  f our-and-forty  times,"  con- 
tinued his  friend. 

"Yes,  it's  as  long  as  that  since  we  moved  to  Berlin,  and  you  became 
our  friend,"  said  the  old  soldier. 

"Last  year  at  this  time  we  were  all  so  jolly  together,"  said  the  other. 
"She  sat  in  the  armchair  there,  knitting  socks  for  Paul's  eldest.  She 
worked  busily,  saying  she  must  finish  it  by  twelve  o'clock.  And  she  did 
finish  it.  Then  we  drank  our  punch  and  spoke  quite  calmly  of  death. 
And  two  months  later  they  carried  her  away.  As  you  know,  I  have 
written  a  fat  book  on  the  'Immortality  of  the  Idea.5  You  never  cared 
much  about  it — I  don't  care  for  it  myself  now  that  your  wife  is  dead. 
The  entire  Idea  of  the  Universe  means  nothing  to  me  now." 

"Yes,  she  was  a  good  wife,"  said  the  husband  of  the  dead  woman; 
"she  cared  for  me  well.  When  I  had  to  go  out  for  service  at  five  o'clock 
in  the  morning,  she  was  always  up  before  me  to  look  after  my  coffee. 
Of  course  she  had  her  faults.  When  she  got  into  philosophizing  with 
you— h'm." 

"You  never  understood  her,"  murmured  the  other,  the  corners  of  his 
mouth  trembling  in  controlled  resentment.  But  the  glance  that  rested 
long  on  his  friend's  face  was  gentle  and  sad,  as  if  a  secret  guilt  pressed 
upon  his  soul. 


GERMANY—  SUDERMANN  291 

After  a  renewed  pause,  he  began: 

"Franz,  there  is  something  I  want  to  tell  you,  something  that  has 
long  troubled  me,  something  that  I  do  not  want  to  carry  with  me  to 


my  grave" 


fire  away,"  said  the  host,  taking  up  the  long  pipe  that  stood 
beside  his  chair. 

"There  was  once—  -something—between  your  wife  and  me." 

The  host  let  his  pipe  fall  back  again,  and  stared  at  his  friend  .with 
wide-opened  eyes. 

"No  jokes,  please,  doctor/'  he  said  finally. 

"It  is  bitter  earnest,  Franz,"  replied  the  other.  "I  have  carried  it 
about  with  me  these  forty  years,  but  now  it  is  high  time  to  have  it 
out  with  you." 

"Do  you  mean  to  say  that  the  dead  woman  was  untrue  to  me?"  cried 
the  husband  angrily. 

"For  shame,  Franz,"  said  his  friend  with  a  soft,  sad  smile. 

The  old  soldier  murmured  something  and  lit  his  pipe. 

"No,  she  was  as  pure  as  God's  angels,"  continued  the  other.  "It  is 
you  and  I  who  are  the  guilty  ones.  Listen  to  me.  It  is  now  forty-three 
years  ago;  you  had  just  been  ordered  here  as  captain  to  Berlin,  and  I 
was  teaching  at  the  University.  You  were  a  gay  bird  then,  as  you  know." 

"H'm,"  rejnarked  the  host,  raising  his  trembling  old  hand  to  his 
mustache.  » 

"There  was  a  beautiful  actress  with  great  black  eyes  and  little  white 
teeth  —  do  you  remember?" 

"Do  I?  Bianca  was  her  name,"  answered  the  other  as  a  faded  smile 
flashed  over  his  weather-beaten,  self-indulgent  face.  "Those  little  white 
teeth  could  bite,  I  can  tell  you." 

"You  deceived  your